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Sir William Turner 

K.C.B., F.R.S. 

SIR WILLIAM TURNER. 1907. .^-x. 74. 
From a photograph by J. Moffat. 

Sir William Turner 

— 7\ 

K.C.B., F.R.S. 







William Blackwood and Sons 

Edinburgh and London 














In 1910, my father was approached by an Eng-lish 
Publishing House with a view to ascertaining whether 
he would prepare for publication an account of the 
progress of medical education during his lifetime. 
No one was in a better position to do so than he, 
but, unfortunately, he was unable to see his way to 
comply with the request. If he had left any in- 
structions relating to the possible preparation of a 
Biography, I feel certain that he would have sug- 
gested that any narrative of his life should take 
some such form as has been followed in the present 

An account of the progress of medical and scientific 
education, as exemplified in the history of the 
University of Edinburgh during a period of sixty- 
two years, would have appealed to his sense of the 
fitness of things, and I am sure, therefore, that in 
attempting to write along these lines, I have en- 
deavoured to carry out his unspoken wish. The 
description lacks that personal touch which can only 
be given to a narrative by one who has been, not 
only an active participant in the events which are 
recorded, but frequently the principal mover in them. 


The story has not been arranged altogether in 
progressive chronological sequence, but rather in the 
form of a series of sections, each more or less com- 
plete in itself, but with the thread of his life easily 
traceable, chapter by chapter, through the whole. 
Had my father been engaged in the pursuit of one 
definite line of research, a story in strictly chrono- 
logical order would have been more suitable ; but 
his work followed many paths and his interests were 
numerous. As he combined in his own person the 
teacher, the scientific investigator, and the adminis- 
trator, the sectional treatment of the work seems the 
most appropriate method to have adopted. 

It has a further advantage : each aspect of his 
life may be studied independently, and the reader 
may select what he thinks will interest him most, 
and pass over that which he may feel is of less 
moment to himself. 

Unfortunately, my father left no autobiographical 
notes behind him. A number of family letters written 
to his mother and brother in his younger days — 
some of which I have been able to make use of — 
a few manuscript notes of some early speeches, the 
hospital note-books of his student days, and a number 
of letters from friends, mainly of a congratulatory 
character, are the sole evidence that he might have 
had some intention of recording the interesting facts 
of his career, if time and opportunity had permitted. 
Consequently, there are gaps which I have been un- 
able to fill, and omissions, a record of which would 
have given an added interest to the story. 

In the chapters which recount his scientific work, 
I have quoted largely from his writings, and most 


of the observations therein recorded are described 
in the language which he himself employed. In Sir 
Alexander Grant's ' Story of the University of Edin- 
burgh,' I found a rich storehouse of historical facts. 
' Goodsir's Anatomical Memoirs ' ; an ' Historical 
Sketch of the Edinburgh Anatomical School,' by Pro- 
fessor Sir John Struthers ; ' Anatomy in Scotland,' by 
Professor Arthur Keith ; ' Addresses to the Liverpool 
Biological Society,' by Professor W. A. Herdman ; 
' The Turner Memorial Number of the Student ' ; 
the files of the ' Scotsman ' newspaper, and various 
Medical Journals, have provided me with many in- 
teresting particulars, of which I have freely availed 

I desire to acknowledge with gratitude my great 
indebtedness to my sisters, whose untiring interest 
and ever-ready assistance have been of the greatest 
service to me, and which have made it possible to 
record incidents in my father's life which might 
otherwise have been left unnoted. From a few of 
his old friends and colleagues I have received help 
and encouragement : from Professor J. H. Millar ; 
Sir Ludovic Grant, Bart. ; Sir Bichard Lodge ; Pro- 
fessor Malcolm Taylor, D.D. ; Professor John Bankine, 
K.C. ; and Professors John Chiene, C.B., and Arthur 
Bobinson. Amongst other friends, whose assistance 
I sought and received, I wish to mention Sir William 
M'Cormick ; Sheriff G. L. Crole, K.C. ; Mr J. W. B. 
Hodsdon, F.B.C.S.E. ; Sir Thomas Hunter; Mr George 
Somerville ; Professors Sims Woodhead and Arthur 
Keith ; and to Mr Cann Hughes, the Town Clerk 
of Lancaster ; Mr W. S. Caw of the Boyal Infirmary, 
Edinburgh; and Mr George C. Pringle, M.B.E., of 


the Ediicationjil Institute of Scotland, I am indebted 
for documentary information. Miss Johnson of Lan- 
caster, Miss Acland of Oxford, Mrs Niecks, daughter 
of the late Sir John Struthers, and Mrs J. D. 
Cunningham, kindly placed at my disposal a number 
of letters bearing upon my subject. 

To all of these, and to others here unnamed, who 
have recalled to my memory some half-forgotten in- 
cidents of the past, I offer my grateful thanks. 


27 Walker Street, Edinburgh. 
February 1919. 





Parents — Birthplace — Lancaster — School -days — Indenture of 
apprenticeship — Life of the apprentice — The family of Johnson 
— Early scientific interests — Sir Thomas Storey — Freeman of 
Lancaster — Leaves native town ..... 1 



St Bartholomew's Hospital — James Paget — Instruction at the 
Hospital Medical School — Death of his brother Robert — London 
University Matriculation— Holiday excursion — Duke of Wel- 
lington's funeral — Membership of the College of Surgeons — In- 
termediate Examination at London University — Early successes 
and scientific work — Invitation to Edinburgh . . ,23 



Arrival in Edinburgh — The Pi'ofession in Edinburgh — The 
Anatomical Department — John Goodair — Turner commences 
teaching — Colleagues on the Staff — Pupils — Paget's Surgical 
Pathology — 'Journal of Anatomy and Physiology' . • 58 



Universities (Scotland) Act, 1858 — Holidays in Germany and 
Switzerland — Early days of the Volunteer movement — Question 
of -Turner leaving Edinburgh — His marriage — Death of Goodsir 89 




Appointment to the Cliair — Short sketch of its history — Turner's 
method of teaching— Relations with his students — Knighthood 
and K.O.B.— Presentation of the Eeid Portrait . . . Ill 



Rise and fall of the Anatomical Class — Cosmopolitan character of 
the University — Turner's demonstrators — Pupils who became 
^Professors of Anatomy — Anatomy in the Extra-Mural School — 
Resignation of the Chair ...... 144 



Anatomy in Edinburgh in first half of nineteenth century — Sir 
i^Cliarles Bell and John Reid — Barclay and Knox — Wharton 
Jones — Allen Thomson — Martin Barry — John) and Harry 
Goodsir — Hughes Bennett— Edward Forbes — The Darwinian 
Epoch — Turner and Lister — Turner and Darwin — Comparative 
Anatomy of the Brain — The Marine Mammals , . . 169 


SCIENTIFIC WORK (continued) — anthropology. 

Anthropology — Sources of material — Methods of study — Pre- 
historic man — The missing link — Aboriginal hill-tribes in 
India — The peoples of Tibet — Of the Pacific Archipelago — The 
Maoris — The Australians — The Tasmanians . . . 203 


ANTHROPOLOGY — continued. 

Prehistoric and modern inhabitants of Scotland — Conclusions re- 
garding the races of men— Skulls of St Andrew and Robert the 
Bruce — Origin of term Ravenbone — Summary of scientific work 
— Distinctions and honours ..... 228 




Members of the Senatua — Sir Robert Christison — The Senatus and 
; the University Court — Women and the study of|medicine . 256 



Medical Act of 1858 — Position of the Scottish and English Licensing 
Boards — Mr Robert Lowe and the Scottish Universities — The 
General Medical Council and a Conjoint Board — Legislation and 
the One-portal System — Mr W. E. Forster's Committee — The 
Medical Acts Commission, 1881— Medical Bills of 1883 and 1884 
—The Medical Act of 1886 . . . . . 268 




Constitution and function of the Medical Council — Original 
members of Council — Turner elected in 1873 — Sir Henry 
Acland — Edinburgh and Oxford — Turner's colleagues on the 
Council — Direct representation of the profession and Turner's 
opposition — The reconstituted Council of 1886 — Turner's new 
colleagues — Midwives' Act and medical reciprocity — Election 
as President — Resignation of Chair and retirement . . 297 



Commission of Inquiry of 1876 — Huxley and Turner — Lord 
Kinnear's Commission of 1889 — Changes in the University 
Court — Patronage of University Chairs — The payment of 
Professors' salaries — Autonomy of the Scottish and English 
Universities — Parliamentary control — The Students' Repre- 
sentative Council ..,,.., 322 



(SCOTLAND) ACT, 1889. 

A retrospect— Conditions before the passing of the Act— The 
Preliminary Examination in Medicine— The primary scientific 
subjects— Changes in the Medical Curriculum— The Faculty of 
Science— The introduction of the Lectureship system . . 339 



Public Health and the Sir John Usher Institute- Bacteriology- 
Clinical Medicine — Tuberculosis . . . • • 353 





College of Surgeons and the teaching of Anatomy — College of 
Physicians and the Physic Garden — Surgery and Medicine in 
the Surgeons' theatre — Foundation of Medical Faculty — The 
Extra-Mural School — Qualifies for University Degree — School 
of Medicine of the Royal Colleges — The Royal Infirmary, 1729 — 
Clinical teaching — Professors of Medicine and Surgery — Move- 
ment to amalgamate University and Extra-Mural Teachers — 
Reorganisation of the Infirmary StaflT .... 382 



Origin of the New Medical School— The site — Public response to 
the appeal — Opening of the Anatomical Department — Ter- 
centenary Festival, 1884 — The Anatomical Museum — The 
M'Ewan Hall — Opening ceremony — New Departments of 
Engineering and Natural Philosophy — Mr Andrew Carnegie 
opens the Departments — A Degree and Department of Forestry 
— New Chemistry Department^ . ' . . . . 402 




Robert Rollock, first Principal — Robert Leighton — William 
Carstares — William Robertson — Brewster, Grant, and Muir — 
Turner — The Secondary Schools — Degree in Education — Degree 
in Veterinary Science ...... 434 



Freedom of the City — Honorary Member of the Merchant Com- 
pany — Eightieth Birthday and Sii- James Guthrie Portrait — 
Graduation and other Ceremonials — Colleagues in the Court and 
Senatus — Students' Union— The end .... 453 






Home life — A conversationalist — Science and Faith — A public 

speaker — Holidays — Friends — Retrospect . . , 480 

TABLE OF REFERENCES . . . . . .501 

INDEX ......... 503 


SIR WILLIAM TURNER. 1907. ^T. 74 . . Frontispiece 

Prom a photograph by J. Moffat. 

WILLIAM TURNER, SENIOR .... lofocep. 2 

From a drawing, probably about 1830.J 

MARGARET TURNER . . . . . ii 6 

From a photograph taken about li)65. 


From a daguerreotype taken in 1854. 

LADY TURNER . . , . . ii 136 

From a photograph by J. Moffat taken in 1893. 


From the painting by the late Sir Gkoroe Reid, IP.R.S.A., 
presented in£1895 by his colleagues and old pupils. 


From the painting by Sir James Guthrik, P.R.S.A., presented 
by subscribers in 1913, and placed in the Senate Hall of 
the University. 




Parents — Birthplace — Lancaster — School- days — Indenture of ap- 
prenticeship — Life of the apprentice — The Family of Johnson 
— Early scientific interests — Sir Thomas Storey — Freeman of 
Lancaster — Leaves native town. 

William Turner was born in the county town of 
Lancaster on January 7th, 1832. His father, born 
in 1797, after whom William was named, carried on 
the business of an upholsterer and cabinetmaker, in 
partnership with a Mr John Battersby. Mr Turner 
died on the 7th March 1837, at the age of forty, 
when William was only five years old ; he thus had 
no recollection of his father, whose early death de- 
prived the boy of paternal guidance. His mother, 
whose maiden name was Margaret Aldren, was born 
on Christmas Day 1793, being four years older than 
her husband at the time of their marriage on Jan- 
uary 6th, 1830. 

Cabinetmaking and upholstering for a long time 
had formed one of the staple industries of Lancaster. 



The well-known business house of Waring & Gillow 
of Oxford Street, London, had its origin in the 
northern town, where in 1695 a Gillow had com- 
menced life as a cabinetmaker. In the middle of 
the eighteenth century, before Liverpool had come 
into prominence, Lancaster on the river Lune was, 
next to Bristol, the principal west coast seaport of 
England, and exported a considerable quantity of 
furniture to the Indies. William Turner, senior, 
having as a young man become apprenticed to the 
trade, acquired a small business of his own, which 
he carried on in Friar Street. For many years the 
law required that no one could follow certain occupa- 
tions in Lancaster, of which cabinetmaking was one, 
unless he became a Freeman of the town. The free- 
dom could be obtained in one of three ways — by right 
of birth, by apprenticeship, or by purchase. William 
Turner, senior, in 1817, became a Freeman by right 
of his apprenticeship when twenty years of age. 
Gillow, who was not a Lancaster boy, obtained the 
freedom of the town by purchase, so that he might 
enter into competition with the other workers in the 
same line of business. 

The Aldren family belonged to Skerton, an adjoin- 
ing parish, in which they had been yeomen farmers 
for several generations. It is said that in 1745, when 
the Young Pretender passed through Lancaster on his 
ill-fated enterprise, the Aldrens of that time were 
.forced to give house-room in Skerton to some of his 
soldiers, who showed their gratitude by afterwards 
robbing their unwilling hosts. An interesting fact 
connected with the family was the remarkable 
longevity of some of its members, on the female side 
in particular. Mrs Turner's parents were 79 and 82 
years of age at the time of their death, and her three 
sisters died aged respectively 78, 85, and 91 years. 
She herself survived her husband for thirty-two years, 
and died on the 26th May 1869, at the age of 75. 


fFrom a drawing, probably about 1830. 


She thus lived to see her son become Professor of 
Anatomy in the University of Edinburgh. 

Four children were born of the marriage, but 
William, the second of the family, alone grew to 
manhood. The eldest child, also named William, was 
born in October 1830, but he survived only a few 
days. It was not uncommon at that time to give 
the same name to two members of the family, in the 
event of the first-named dying in infancy. A daughter, 
Mary Ellen, born in 1834, died of diphtheria at the 
age of four ; while the youngest child, Robert, born 
in October 1836, died at school from an attack of 
erysipelas, at the early age of fourteen. 

As William Turner, senior, was an only child, and 
William alone of his generation reached adult life, an 
explanation is provided of the reason why, after his 
mother's death, the latter had no relations bearing his 
own name. He had several cousins, however, on the 
Aldren side of the house, one of whom, attracted to 
the study of medicine, found his way to Edinburgh in 
the early sixties of last century, and became a pupil 
of his cousin in the anatomy department. After a 
brilliant career as a student, Robert Aldren took his 
degree and entered the medical service in India. Un- 
fortunately he was sent to an unhealthy station in the 
Madras Presidency, where he died of fever at the age 
of twenty-four, a life of promise being thus cut short. 
Thirty years later another Aldren, a second cousin of 
Turner's, also chose medicine as his profession and 
became his pupil in Edinburgh. Graduating in 1897, 
Bertram C. R. Aldren afterwards settled in practice 
at Edgbaston, Birmingham. 

William was born in No. 7 Friar Street, in a 
small two-storied brick house of modest pretensions. 
In March 1914, a tablet to commemorate the birth- 
place of one of Lancaster's most famous townsmen 
was placed upon the house. The inscription which 
it bears reads as follows : — 




K.C.B., F.R.8., D.Sc, LL.D., D.C.L. 




A somewhat unfortunate controversy, which, how- 
ever, had its humorous as well as its more serious side, 
arose over the erection of the mural tablet. In the 
year 1912 a movement was started in Lancaster by 
Sir William's old friends and the civic authorities, 
with a view to perpetuating his memory by marking 
the house in which he was born. Owing to some 
misunderstanding a tablet was placed upon the Friar 
Street front of the Wesleyan Schools, which occupied 
the site of the old house in which it was believed 
that he first saw the light of day. The tablet, whose 
inscription commenced with the words, " In a house 
on the site of this building," was unveiled on the 7th 
August 1913 by Mr H. L. Storey, in the presence of 
Sir William. The ceremony was attended by Mr 0. F. 
Seward, the Mayor, and a large gathering of friends. 
At that time some doubt was cast upon the accuracy 
of the site chosen, but, when the tablet was unveiled, 
no reference was made to the subject, and as Sir 
William was silent on the point, it was supposed that 
the matter would be allowed to rest. 

In March 1914, however, the second and rival 
tablet appeared upon the house No. 7 Friar Street, 
bearing the inscription already quoted. A careful 
inspection of the rate-books had revealed the fact that 
for a few years, both before and after the birth of his 
second son, Mr William Turner had occupied the house 
numbered seven. For some months the rival tablets 
informed the townsfolk that Sir William had been 
born iu two places, and for a time this incongruity 


excited some comment and controversy. The tablet 
erected in August 1913 was, however, removed subse- 
quently, and the matter ceased to be of any further 
public interest. 

Lancaster had been a place of some importance in 
very early times, and in the fifteenth century had 
shared in the calamities wrought by the Wars of the 
Roses. In the thirties of last century the town was 
experiencing a period of considerable commercial de- 
pression, although the firm of Gillow continued to 
exercise a beneficial influence. The shipping industry, 
which had previously been developed with marked 
success, had left it, and the shipbuilding yards were 
closed down. The rapid growth of Liverpool had 
injured her trade in that direction. Two or three 
cotton mills supplied her chief manufactured com- 
modity. In 1831 the population was somewhat under 
13,000, and between that year and 1851 it had only 
increased by 1749, while in the late forties Lancaster's 
misfortunes were further accentuated by the cotton 
famine. Such were the somewhat depressing condi- 
tions in the town during William Turner's boyhood. 

In the course of his long life great changes have 
taken place. Lancaster has undergone very consider- 
able extension ; property has increased in value, and 
a number of handsome public buildings have been 
erected. At the census of 1910 the population of the 
town was 46,600. Its prosperity had increased enor- 
mously through the great development of its new 
industries, table-baize, sail- and oil-cloth. When on 
a visit to Lancaster in 1902 with the object of pre- 
senting the prizes at the Grammar School, Turner 
thus referred to his native town: "When I looked 
north this morning, as I stood outside the Grammar 
School, I saw the old church and the old castle 
perched upon their eminence ; I saw where the old 
Roman town was situated, where the old Saxon town 
was situated, and where the old medieval town was 
situated ; and I saw the picture through a frame of a 


very remarkable character. It consisted of two great 
factories, one on the right and one on the left, and 
I could not but think that what I saw before me 
symbolised very much the education of the present 
day. It symbolised the meeting-ground of the old 
with the new." 

The increased prosperity of the town has been due 
largely to the energy and success of two of Lancaster's 
townsmen, Mr James Williamson, now Lord Ashton, 
and the late Sir Thomas Storey. Upon the pedestal 
of the Victoria statue, the gift of Lord Ashton, erected 
in 1907, there is a series of panels containing the 
figures of prominent men of the Victorian era. One 
of these panels is reserved for men distinguished in 
science and literature, and included amongst them are 
the figures of Sir William Turner, Sir Edward Frank- 
land, and Sir Richard Owen, three old Lancastrians. 
In the Storey Institute, gifted by Sir Thomas in 1891, 
are placed the busts of Turner, Owen, and Whewell, 
the Master of Trinity College, Cambridge, Whewell 
also having been a Lancaster boy. 

Turner always retained a great affection for his 
native town, which delighted to honour him. He 
never failed to respond when invited to attend some 
ceremon}?- or function, unless important duties made 
his visit impossible, and he cordially welcomed in 
Edinburgh any old Lancastrian friend who found his 
or her way to his adopted city. 

Having been left a widow comparatively early in 
her married life, Mrs Turner transferred her home to 
Fenton Street, and devoted herself to the upbringing 
of her two sons, William and Robert. Owing to her 
limited means, great care and economy had to be 
exercised in the home in order that they might have 
every possible comfort. Though not endowed with 
special intellectual gifts, she was a woman of strong 
character, which was further developed by the stress 
and anxiety through which she had passed, consequent 
upon family losses. Her simple faith and strong 


[From a pholograpli taken about 1865. 


religious feeling left their impress upon her son 
William throughout his life, and he often referred 
with gratitude to the deep debt which he owed his 
mother for her careful guidance and firm discipline. 
Up to the time of her death he maintained the 
regular and frequent correspondence with her which 
he had begun in his student days. His letters show 
a sympathetic understanding with her, and reveal the 
fact that he was desirous of keeping her in close 
touch not only with what he had achieved, but also 
with his views reo^arding' his future. 

To the natural ability of both her sons Mrs Turner 
gave of her best, and she encouraged them in the 
pursuit of their studies. From the time that William 
was able to read, which he used to say that he 
could do at the age of four, he developed a great 
desire to have books. He attended first a Dame's 
school, known as Teddy Howard's, in Moor Lane, a 
preparatory institution for the Royal Grammar School, 
in which, however, he was never enrolled as a pupil. 
In his boyhood the Grammar School was not in a 
very flourishing condition, either as regarded its 
general administration or in its situation. Placed 
close to the old parish churchyard, it was somewhat 
gloomy in its surroundings, and the number of its 
pupils was small. But the fortunes of the Grammar 
School, like those of the town, have greatly improved 
since the old site was vacated. 

At the age of ten he left Howard's school and 
was placed under the care of the Rev. William 
Shepherd, at Longmarton, a village situated about 
three miles from Appleby, in the county of West- 
moreland. The railway from Lancaster to Carlisle 
was then only in process of construction, and the 
boy had to make the journey over Shap Fells by 
coach : he always retained a lively recollection of his 
coaching experiences. Mr Shepherd, who was vicar 
of Bolton, a neighbouring parish to Longmarton, kept 
a small private school which had a very good repu- 


tatioii in the diBtrict. The school accommodated about 
twenty boys, of whom fifteen were boarders and the 
remainder day scholars. The education which the 
pupils received was good, and the elementary training 
which they acquired, chiefly from Mr Shepherd him- 
self, formed a useful preparation for their more ex- 
tended studies in the future. The following letter, 
written to his mother by Robert Turner, who later 
also l)ecame a pupil at Longmarton, illustrates the 
character of the studies that were pursued there : — 

I have deferred answering your kind letter, so that I 
might be able to inform you precisely of the time of our 
hrt-aking-up. We leave on Tuesday l7th, and you may 
expect me on the 18th by the train reaching Lancaster 
alx>ut 1 1 o'clock. 

Our class has reached the third books of Homer and 
VirgU, and about the three hundredth line of Hecuba. We 
have also begun the Jugurthine war of Sallust. In mathe- 
matics we have finished the second book of Euclid. In 
Mensuration I have begun Solids. We have also begun to 
read the history of Greece instead of Rome. 

Tliere is very little of general interest to record in 
William's school-days. He remained at Longmarton 
until the Christmas vacation of 1846, thus completing 
his school education at the age of fifteen, when many 
boys to-day are only entering the public schools. The 
general knowledge which he subsequently acquired 
was mainly derived through his own application to 
study. He certainly illustrated the saying of one of 
his favourite authors, that " the best part of every 
man's education is that which he gives to himself." 
His knowledge of history and literature, his command 
of language in speaking and writing, his ability to 
grapple \yith financial problems, were not taught him 
at any institution, but were the outcome of self- 

When a man dies over eighty years of age without 
leaving behind him any autobiographical reminiscences, 
It is difficult for his biographer to draw^ any accurate 


sketch of the earlier life of his subject. Having out- 
lived all his contemporaries, he has left no oae who 
might be able to provide the writer with interesting 
facts, or even supply some indistinct memory of a 
bygone period. During his boyhood William had few 
of those pleasures and pastimes which brighten the 
life of many children. He played no cricket or foot- 
ball as these sports are known to-da3^ Walking 
formed his chief recreation during his holidays, and 
again when he returned from London on his vacation. 
Living within easy reach of the Lake District, he 
early acquired an intimate knowledge of that corner 
of England. He was a keen lover of nature, and, 
even as a boy, he possessed in an unusual degree 
the faculty of appreciating the beauty of scenery and 
the ever-changing phenomena of light and shadow. 
His later studies in botany added to his enjoyment 
of country life. Botany meant more to him than the 
dissection and structure of plants and their application 
to the uses of the Pharmacopeia. Flowers, shrubs, and 
trees were living things which added to his pleasure 
in Nature. 

It is often difficult to determine the reasons which 
may have influenced a young man in the choice of 
a career. In the early life of some men, on the other 
hand, even before the completion of the school period, 
the future course has already been discussed and 
settled. The adoption of a certain profession, or the 
entry into a particular business or trade, may follow- 
naturally upon the vocation of the youth's father, or 
it may be arranged for him on the grounds of already 
established family interests. For William Turner no 
such family advantages existed. His father had died 
ten years before the boy left school, depriving him 
therefore of advice or assistance at this important 
period of his life. 

There is no evidence that his schoolmaster had 
either formed or expressed any definite opinion as to 


Iho kind of career for which his pupil seemed best 
fitted, nor have we any knowledge as regards the 
direction towards which his own thoughts were turned 
at that time. In a letter which the Rev. Mr Shepherd 
wrote to Mrs Turner at the close of her boy's last 
school term, no suggestion was made as to the future. 
" I cannot allow your son to leave," he wrote, 
" without expressing to you my entire satisfaction 
with every part of his conduct during the time that 
he has been at Longmarton. I assure you that I 
part from him with very great regret. He has been 
very industrious and attentive, and his progress is 
all that I could wish. It will always give Mrs 
Shepherd and myself the highest pleasure to see him 
at Longmarton." 

In the year 1847 the town of Lancaster was 
fortunate in possessing amongst the members of its 
medical fraternity three highly-gifted and cultured 
practitioners : Dr Christopher Johnson, senior, and 
his two sons, James and Christopher, junior, the 
latter being associated as a partner with his father. 
It was through the influence of these men, and more 
directly through that of James, who by his marriage 
had become connected with the Aldren family, that 
Turner's steps were first directed to the study of 
medicine. On leaving school he was articled at the 
age of fifteen to his uncle, John Aldren, a chemist in 
the town. His pupilage, however, was of very short 
duration. Within a few weeks Dr James Johnson, 
recognising the boy's ability, and believing that his 
talents were being wasted in the position in which 
he was placed, persuaded his mother and his aunts 
to arrange for the necessary funds to provide him 
with a medical education. Accordingly he became 
apprenticed to Dr Christopher Johnson, junior. 

The apprenticeship system was at that time the 
recognised portal in England through which a youth 
entered upon his medical studies. He became in- 
dentured to a " regular member of the profession, 


holding the appointment of Surgeon to a Hospital, 
a General Dispensary, or a Union Workhouse." It 
had long been the custom of the qualifying bodies, 
such as the Royal College of Surgeons of England 
and the Society of Apothecaries of London, to regard 
the training received in this way as constituting the 
commencement of professional study. The Society of 
Apothecaries, indeed, made such a pupilage compul- 
sory, though they recognised the instruction that was 
given only if the master had himself been admitted 
into the Society. The term of apprenticeship was 
not less than hve years, and there was a govern- 
ment stamp of one pound upon the indenture. The 
actual amount paid for the apprenticeship varied 
considerably, and might indeed be 7iil, because in 
many cases a father would receive his son as an 

The Licentiate of the Society of Apothecaries sup- 
plied his patient with physic ; medical practice was 
identified with drug-giving, and indeed this was often 
its more prominent feature. The practitioner was 
paid for the medicine he supplied, or what passed for 
it, and not for his attendance upon the patient ; in 
fact, he could recover fees in a court of law for the 
medicines supplied, but not for the attendance. In 
the first half of the nineteenth century the pestle 
and mortar ruled the practitioner, and he was not 
liberated from it until 1858. Many years afterwards 
Turner recalled this condition of things when, in 1907, 
as the guest of the Yorkshire Association of Graduates 
of the University of Edinburgh, he said: "I have 
great hopes that the establishment of Universities in 
so many of the great provincial cities will bring about 
what I conceive to be another very important reform 
which is required in the profession of medicine — that 
the dispensing of medicine by the practitioner and the 
charging of a fee will depend on the advice that he 
gives to a patient, and not on the quantity of the 
medicine that the patient receives." 


Some interesting facts have been collected ^ with 
regard to tlie fees paid by medical students in London 
who were anxious to indenture themselves as " hospital 
apprentices" to surgeons of renown for the purpose of 
obtaining special surgical instruction. Thus, it was 
not uncommon for a distinguished surgeon on the 
staff of a metropolitan hospital to receive £500 from 
a student for the privilege of following his work in 
the wards. This sum was frequently paid to Joseph 
Henry Green, John Abernethy, and Edward A. Stanley, 
Presidents of the Royal College of Surgeons of Eng- 
land, while a certain John Alexander Harper paid a 
premium of £1000 to Aston Key. To surgeons of 
lesser note smaller but not inconsiderable sums of 
money were given for the same purpose. 

With the passing of the Medical Act of 1858, and 
the constitution of the General Council of Medical 
Education and Registration which the Act established, 
the whole question of the apprenticeship system was 
reconsidered and modified, and it finally ceased to be 
a recognised part of medical training. 

Turner's Indenture of Apprenticeship was duly 
drawn up and signed by Christopher Johnson, junior, 
by his mother, Margaret Turner, and himself, upon 
the 26th day of February 1847. The old-fashioned 
formula of the Indenture is interesting, and the 
terms of the agreement between the contracting 
])arties are suflSciently quaint to justify quotation, 
in part, at any rate: — 

The said William Turner doth bind himself a covenant 
Servant or Apprentice to the said Christopher Johnson, the 
younger, his executors, administrators and assigns from the 
Day of the Date hereof, during the Term of Five Years, 
thence next ensuinc; and fully "to be completed and ended. 
. . . He. the said Apprentice, shall and will faithfully serve 
his Master, his secrets keep, his lawful Commands gladly 
obey and do; hurt to his said Master he shall not do nor 

• 'The Lnncot,' 1917. 


suffer to be done by others, when it is in his power to 
prevent the same. His Master's goods he shall not waste 
nor embe;^zle, the same give or lend without leave. Day 
or night absent himself from his said Master's service, nor 
do any other act, matter or thing whatsoever to the prejudice 
of his said Master, but in all things shall demean and behave 
himself towards his said Master and all his, as a faithful 
Apprentice ought to do. And also that the said Margaret 
Turner, her executors and administrators shall provide for 
the said son, the Apprentice, during the said term, meat, 
drink, washing and lodgings and all manner of necessary 
and becoming apparel, and also medicine and attendance in 
case of sickness or lameness. In consideration hereof and of 
the sum of five shillings to the said Christopher Johnson, the 
younger, paid as an apprentice fee — (the receipt whereof is 
hereby acknowledged) — and it is further mutually agreed 
that, in case the said Mai-garet Turner shall be desirous that 
the said William Turner shall spend the last year of the said 
term in London or elsewhere, in pursuing his studies as a 
Surgeon or Apothecary, the said Christopher Johnson hereby 
promises that he will give his full permission to the said 
Apprentice to do so ; also the said Christopher Johnson, the 
younger, shall and will teach, inform and instruct or cause 
and procure to be taught, informed and instructed, the said 
Apprentice by the best ways and means he can, in the Profes- 
sion, Art, and Trade of a Surgeon and Apothecary. 

The duties of the apprentice were varied, and in 
some respects might be regarded as somewhat of a 
menial character. He had to receive the messaeres 
and make appomtments in his mastei's absence from 
the surgery, and, in some cases, it was his business to 
keep the accounts. He made up the pills and the 
bottles, dispensing the drugs and compiling the pre- 
scriptions. Turner rolled many thousands of pills 
during the days of his apprenticeship. The position, 
however, offered greater advantages than some might 
now be disposed to think, because the young student 
learned in a practical manner many things which 
to-day are often neglected in his training. He 
obtained a working knowledge of drugs, and he 
became versed in minor therapeutic details such as 
the making of poultices and the application of leeches; 


he assisted his chief in his minor surgery and learned 
how to apply bandages and splints, practical details 
frequently ignored by the modern student, whose 
hospital attendance is often taken up with the major 
operations of surgery. The system, too, brought the 
prospective student of medicine at once into touch 
with patients. His interest in the study of disease 
was early aroused, and when he passed into the 
medical schools to learn anatomy and physiology, he 
was the more readily able to appreciate the practical 
application of these subjects, and his interest in their 
study was consequently stimulated. In modern times, 
when so much attention is being paid to effecting 
improvements in medical education, it might be well 
that would-be reformers should glance at the past and 
seek some inspiration from the good that existed in 
methods now long discarded. 

The work of the apprentice, therefore, meant the 
training of his power of observation, accuracy in 
detail, and the use of his hands as well as his head, 
from the very outset of his career. There was time 
and opportunity, too, for reading and for the study of 
some scientific subject, depending upon the attain- 
ments or the special predilection of the master under 
whom he worked. 

Turner was fond of telling a story relating to his 
duties at that time. Dr Johnson had amputated a 
limb, and had given instructions that it should be 
conveyed to the surgery. It was accordingly packed 
in a basket and given to Turner to take home. It was 
Sunday morning, and the public were leaving church 
as he carried his unusual parcel through the streets. 
Conscious of the somewhat gruesome contents of the 
basket, he imagined that every eye had penetrated 
the coverings and guessed his secret, and it was with 
feelings of intense relief that he reached the welcome 
door of the surijerv. 

We can recall another anecdote relatino- to his 
surgical practice which he himself rarely referred to, 


further than to explain, when the story was being told 
in his presence, that the lad upon whom he operated 
was the only patient he had ever had. In the summer 
following his appointment to the Chair of Anatomy, 
he was spending a part of the vacation with his 
father-in-law near Morebattle, Kelso. While the two 
men were watching the harvest operations, a small 
boy became caught in the reaping-machine, both of his 
arms being severely torn close to the shoulder joints. 
Turner's assistance was obtained immediately, and the 
large vessels were tied by him and the bleeding thus 
arrested before the boy was removed from the field. 
The circumstances are briefly related in a letter from 
the patient, now a man of about fifty-seven, who writes 
with the pen between his teeth. *' In reference to 
your inquiries as to the particulars of my accident, 
the facts are as follows. It took place one and a half 
miles from my home, whither I was carried in a sheet. 
One arm was nearly severed at the shoulder, the other 
having the bone so severely damaged that it also had 
to be amputated. Professor Turner, who fortunately 
happened to be present in the harvest field when the 
accident occurred, at once surgically operated upon me, 
and he was the means of saving my life. I was then 
between seven and eight years of age." 

It was during his apprenticeship that Turner came 
directly under the personal influence of the three John- 
sons, and his association with these men was mainly re- 
sponsible for developing his mind along scientific lines. 
Mr Christopher Johnson, senior, who practised with- 
out diploma or degree, was a man of strong char- 
acter, wide interests, and of very considerable literary 
and scientific attainments. He had a kind and 
sympathetic nature, and was ever ready to encourage 
young men who showed any desire to study. He was 
Honorary Surgeon to the Royal Infirmary of Lan- 
caster ; he became a member of the Corporation and 
subsequently Mayor of the town, and he did a great 
deal to promote the welfare of his fellow-townsmen. 



His contributions to scientific journals were numerous. 
He was a i(ood Italian scholar,' was well versed in 
history, and possessed an excellent library. There 
can be no doubt that his library was placed at Turner's 
disposal, and thus, in his leisure moments, the boy was 
enabled to indulge in his love of reading. By such 
means he acquired some of that extensive knowledge 
of history and the general literature of the period in 
the writings of Dickens, Miss Bronte, Mrs Gaskell, 
and Scott. His wonderful memory enabled him to 
recall historical events and dates, and to repeat many 
of the incidents and name the characters described in 
the works of these writers, years after he had read 
about them. 

Christopher Johnson, junior, inherited the marked 
scientific tastes of his father. He was a man of the 
strictest integrity and honour, and was greatly re- 
spected and beloved by his patients. He graduated 
at Trinity College, Dublin, and, after joining his father 
in partnership, he carried on an extensive and busy 
jiractice. He was appointed Honorary Surgeon to the 
Infirmary. Notwithstanding his many professional 
duties, he too found time to take a keen interest in 
public affairs, and, like his father, became Mayor of 
Lancaster. Along with his brother James, who had 
retired from practice, he paid considerable attention to 
the study of chemistry. The two men gathered round 
them a group of young lads, whom they encouraged 
and assisted, and, in the upper storey of the old 
Mechanics' Institute in Sun Street, James Johnson 
fitted up a little laboratory and lecture-room, where 
the two brothers taught the elements of chemistry 
and provided the means of carrying on experimental 
work. In this nursery of learning good seed was 
sown, and the scientific spirit was developed. Amongst 
the pupils who attended the evening classes was 
Edward Fraiikland, who afterwards attained the 
highest position as a scientific chemist; and Robert 
Galloway, who became Professor of Chemistry in the 


Government School of Science in Dublin, also learned 
the rudiments of his profession under the same 

Upon the completion of the daily routine work of 
the Dispensary, it was doubtless a pleasure for Turner 
to find his way to the evening class in the laboratory 
and to turn his mind to something of a more intellec- 
tual character. Amongst his old note-books there is 
one bearing the date June 1847. It contains the 
notes of many of his chemical experiments, and the 
various reactions are clearly written in graphic 
formulae. We have a letter written to his brother 
Robert, then at school at Longmarton, in which he 
seeks his assistance in the translation of a Latin 
phrase, which possibly bore upon his work in the 
laboratory. " 1 wish you would translate the follow- 
ing passage : * Ut vitrum ex ofjicmd prodit Jr agile, 
sic . . .' ; also look in your Lexicon and tell me the 
derivation and meaning of Autokrateia. I hope you 
will attend to your books ; what little Greek I 
learned I have completely forgotten." 

In due course his brother Robert, then twelve 
years of age, replied : " You request me to translate 
a passage, ' Ut vitrum ex officiiid prodit fragile, 
sic ..." and I have endeavoured to do so, but 
I am not sure that I have succeeded, as it is rather 
difficult to translate an unconnected passage when we 
have not the context given. However, I take the 
meaning to be this : ' As the brittle glass from the 
workshop deceives (that is, as to its strength), 
so . . .' Then, with regard to Autokrateia, I believe 
it is derived from autos, he, and kratos, strength, 
meaning one who acts according to his own will — 
i.e., a despot." 

No account of Turner's early days would be com- 
plete without this detailed reference to the public 
life and character of the Johnsons. They not only 
developed and moulded the scientific bent of mind in 
their young pupil, but from their force of character 



and hi<^h ideals they undoubtedly assisted in develop- 
ing inliim that lofty standard of life which charac- 
terised all his actions in later years. He himself 
fully recognised all that he owed to the family, and 
on more than one occasion he publicly acknowledged 
his indebtedness to them. When, in 1891, the new 
scientific laboratory was opened in the Storey Insti- 
tute, Turner alluded to the benefit which he had 
derived from his training in the Mechanics' Institute. 
" There was in those old days a small lamp of science 
burnincr in Lancaster, and those who lit it were the 
family of Johnson." 

The influence of the example which one generation 
may exert upon the next was still further illustrated 
in his case. When he was a boy, the names of two 
Lancastrians were kept prominently before the youth 
of the town — Richard Owen, the Anatomist, and Dr 
Whevvell, the Master of Trinity. Owen's example 
was frequently before his mind, and he did not hesi- 
tate to say that he entertained the hope that, as 
a man, he might be able to work in the same branch 
of science as Owen had done before him. The accom- 
plishment of that early hope was fully realised in 
his career. 

In 1888 Turner dedicated his volume, entitled 
* Memoirs upon Whales and Seals,' to Sir Richard 
Owen, whom he designated as the Nestor of British 
Anatomists, a graceful tribute to his old fellow- 
townsman who had unconsciously given him his 
youthful inspiration. Owen's letter of acknowledo-- 
raent was as follows : — 

Your interesting and instructive volume contributing to the 
advancement of our common science by the descriptions of 
the characters and structures of the Marine Mammals obtained 
by the naturalists on the voyage of H.M.S. Challenger has 
been a source of great gratification. I have always looked 
out for any contribution by you to our common science from 
a cherished belief that we were fellow-townsmen, and I now 
deduce the conclusion more confidently from your contri- 


buting pleasure and honour to my name by the friendly 
dedication of the volume which enriches the anatomical 
shelves of my library. 

I have not visited my birthplace since the death of my 
immediate relatives, but some of my grandchildren and their 
widowed mother paid a visit to an old schoolfellow of mine, 
Mr Pearson Langshaw, whose father and grandfather suc- 
ceeded my grandfather as organist of the Parish Church. 

Excuse this gossip if I be mistaken in your birthplace. 

Richard Owen. 

During his period of apprenticeship Turner formed 
a close friendship with Thomas Storey, then a youth 
three or four years his senior and a fellow-pupil at the 
chemical laboratory in Sun Street. He was not a 
Lancastrian by birth, but he had come as a boy with 
his family to live in the town. Like the other young 
men who worked in the laboratory, Storey fully 
appreciated the benefits of the practical education 
which he had received. When success had duly 
crowned his efforts in life, he showed his gratitude 
for the traininor which had meant so much to him 
by building and equipping, upon the site of the old 
Mechanics' Institute, the handsome Storey Institute, 
containing a new laboratory, facilities for technical 
education, a school of art, and a public library. In 
the following letter Sir Thomas Storey appealed to 
Turner to sit for the bust which, as we have already 
seen, Avas placed in the Institute. 

Reform Club, Pall Mall, S.W., 
1th November 1889. 

You will know that I am building a small Institution for 
educational purposes, and the thought has possessed me that 
I should like to have your bust in marble to put into it. I 
am having a group cast of the Queen and Prince Consort, and 
I have already got Professor Owen, who was good enough to 
sit to a sculptor, Mr Percy Wood of Chelsea, last year. 

I should employ the same artist for you, and I think he 
would be able to " fix you up " mainly from photographs, and 
would only require to see you once or twice, sometime when 


you went to town. What do you say ? I want you, because 
It would Kive me pleasure, but more especially because 1 wish 
to place iHjforc the future youth of Lancaster what Lancaster 
boys vunj Ix'conio. I think I shall ask Atkinson the same 
MUi-Htion. You two, of the scientific men whom Lancaster 
Im-s turned out, are my friends and of my own period, and 
with Sir Rieluird Owen, will answer my purpose. Frankland 
I played with as a little boy, but was never intimate with 

him. . 

What do you say. old friend ? As I hope you comply with 
mv reuuest. I shall put the sculptor in communication with 
yo\,. » ' ^^ T. Storey. 

Turner maintained his friendship with Sir Thomas 
until the death of the latter in 1898. "He was one 
of my oldest friends, who combined in his character 
two attributes — amiability and strength, and one 
who, when he made a friend, kept him. He was a 
man who had fulfilled the obligations attached to his 
position in life, and who devoted his talents, his 
money and time, to the good of the public service." ^ 
Although in after life their careers were widely dif- 
ferent and their opportunities for intercourse limited. 
Storey's visits to Edinburgh during the time when 
his sons were schoolboys at Fettes College brought 
them frequently together. He usually called upon 
his old friend, and they talked over early days and 
other matters of mutual interest. 

At the age of sixteen Turner became a Freeman of 
Lancaster, and took the oath of Free Burgess on the 
8th of April 1848. The freedom of the iDorough, as 
we have seen, was acquired by birth, apprenticeship, 
or purchase, on the payment of a small fee. In his 
case it was obtained as a birthright, his father having 
become a Freeman by apprenticeship in 1817. Turner 
has related how he was taken by his uncle to the old 
Town Hall, and in the presence of the mayor, Dr 
Howitt, signed his name upon the roll of Freemen. 

The old Salt Marsh adjoining the banks of the 

' Turner in a speech delivered in Lancaster. 


river Lune belonged to eighty of the oldest Free- 
men or their widows, and was held in trust by the 
Corporation. Each had his share in the " Marsh 
Grass," which bestowed upon him the right of " turn- 
ing one horse or two cows of any size to rummage 
upon this common." In 1795 the old Marsh was 
enlarged, drained, and embanked, and in this way 
was placed in a state of good cultivation, thus con- 
siderably increasing the receipts derived from the 
improved conditions of the soil. The Freemen, for- 
merly entitled to a Marsh Grass, then received the 
sum of four pounds annually. Under the Lancaster 
Corporation Act, 1901, each Freeman, or the widows 
of the eighty oldest Freemen, were granted an annuity 
of thirteen pounds. As an " old Freeman," Turner 
might have claimed his share in the Marsh Grass 
had he retired in his later years to live in the town 
of his birth. In 1903 the Town Council of Lancaster, 
apparently ignorant of the fact that he was already 
a Freeman, decided to express the pride which they 
felt in him by presenting him with the Honorary 
Freedom of the Borough. When it was pointed out 
that he was already upon the roll of burgesses, the 
Council placed it on record that, but for this fact, 
they would have been pleased so to honour him. 

In the summer of 1850, when Turner had served 
his apprenticeship for three and a half years, the 
question arose as to the advisability of his continu- 
ing his studies at one of the large medical schools. 
Doubtless much consideration was given to the matter 
before the final choice of school was made. In writing 
to his brother at the end of August of that year, he 
said : *' I think I may now safely say that I shall be 
going to London at the end of September. It is very 
probable that St Bartholomew's Hospital will be the 
place selected for my Alma Mater. We have not got 
another apprentice, nor do I see any likelihood of one, 
at least at present." 

We do not know on what grounds the final selec- 


tion of 8t Bartholomew's was made. It is possible 
that the school was cliosen because Kichard Owen had 
been a student there, and had afterwards acted for 
some time as the lecturer on Comparative Anatomy. 
On the other hand, St Bartholomew's held a high 
place amongst the London schools at that time, and 
its position was fully recognised by the profession. 

Upon the back of Turner's Indenture of Apprentice- 
ship two certiHcates are written, both dated Septem- 
ber 14, 1850. The first reads as follows: "I hereby 
certify that William Turner, having nearly completed 
his fourth year of apprenticeship, has my permission 
to devote the remainder of the Term to the study of 
his profession in London. (Signed) Christopher 
Johnson, jun." The second states : " I certify that 
William Turner has conducted himself to my entire 
satisfaction whilst my pupil, and that I have the 
highest opinion of his intelligence and of the excel- 
lence of his moral character. Christopher Johnson, 
• »> 

At the age of eighteen Turner left his native town. 





St Bartholomew's Hospital — James Paget — Instruction at the 
Hospital Medical School — Death of his brother Robert — 
London University Matriculation — Holiday excursion — Duke 
of Wellington's funeral — Membership of the College of Surgeons 
— Intermediate Examination at London University — Early 
successes and scientific work — Invitation to Edinburgh. 

Turner left home in order to take up his studies in 
London on September 30th, 1850. His journey from 
Lancaster and his first impressions of the metropolis 
are recorded in a letter written to his mother shortly 
after his arrival. To the traveller accustomed to the 
modern comforts of the corridor express, which enables 
him to cover the distance of 230 miles between Lan- 
caster and London in five hours, the journey at that 
period must seem somewhat arduous. Turner spent 
at least twelve hours on the way, and was obliged 
to make three changes. His luggage on more than 
one occasion caused him anxiety. All through his 
life the luggage problem worried him ; the experi- 
ence of years of much travelling without sustaining 
any loss did very little to allay his fears in regard 
to the safety of his effects, and it was difficult for 
those who travelled with him to persuade him to 
take a less anxious view of the matter. The letter 
to his mother is dated from his lodgings at 31 Great 


QutM'ii Street, Lincoln's Inn, which he had arranged 
to sliare with his cousin, James M'Naught : — 

I arrived lierc safely, but before relating to you what I 
have seen and done, I must tell you some of my adventures 
by the way. Before reaching Preston we changed carriages : 
the porter there grumbled about my luggage, said it was 
overweight, and I ought to be charged : however, I got it put 
upon another carriage,^ and we left Preston about 9 o'clock. 
I was told there that I should have to go to a station called 
Newton Junction, and there have to change into another 
train which would take me to London. When I arrived at 
Newton Junction I found that a train was there waiting 
for ours coming up : upon attempting to get into it, I was 
asked what class I travelled, and having told them second, 
tliey said I could not travel by that train, as it was the 
express and only carried first-class passengers. I was obliged 
to wait an hour and a half there until the arriv^al of another 
train. We left at ten minutes to twelve. We arrived at 
Crewe at 2 o'clock, and had to stay there upwards of half 
an hour. We went over the Trent Valley line and reached 
London about 8 o'clock. 

About two miles from London I could perceive the twink- 
ling of the lamps stretching a long way on each side of the 
line. At the Euston station the porters grumbled about my 
luggage and said I should have it weighed, but, after a little 
difficulty, I got it free. 

After reaching my lodgings we had tea, and, feeling my- 
self much refreshed, James took me out for a little walk. 
We went first to Oxford Street and walked half-way along 
it, and, as far as the eye could reach, there stretched on each 
side of us a long row of lamps, glimmering and twinkling 
far away into the darkness. We then turned into Regent 
Street, and certainly I was both astonished and amazed at 
it. It was a beautiful evening, the stars shone brightly in 
the dark sky, and the effect that was produced by seeing 
them between the tops of the lofty and magnificent shops of 
the Quadrant was extremely grand. 

., ,r ^^ "-- Cit\- to the 

Hospital. I saw Mr Paget, the Warden. I paid him fees to 

P««seuL;erd' higgage was at that time carried upon the roof of the 



the amount of £45. I only entered for the Winter Session, 
and shall pay my fees for the Summer Session in May. 

We then went to see St Paul's, the Bank, Post Office, 
Royal Exchange, Guildhall, &c., and took a halfpenny boat 
back again. In the evening I went to the Hospital to hear 
the introductory lecture. After the lecture was over, all the 
students went into the large Hall, where we had coffee. I 
was introduced to Dr Kirkes : he spoke very kindly to me, 
and said he would be always ready to give me an}^ informa- 
tion I required. I left about half -past nine. 

This morning I have been down to the Hospital : I have 
attended two lectures and been round the wards with the 
surgeon, and been looking about me and learning where 
places are and what I shall have to do. There are upwards 
of two hundred students. 

We have here related in his own words his first 
meeting with James Paget, the man who was later 
to have so important an influence in shaping his 
future career, and whose loyal friendship he retained 
throughout life. Paget, at that time, was the attrac- 
tive personality at St Bartholomew's. He was then 
thirty-six years of age, and an assistant surgeon to 
the hospital. The tide of success which finally 
brought him the premier place in the profession in 
London had not yet turned in his favour, but he 
was slowly laying the foundation of his future career. 
It was an uphill fight, with little remuneration. He 
was engaged in cataloguing the museum of the hos- 
pital and the pathological collection belonging to the 
Royal College of Surgeons, where he was also lectur- 
ing. He was thirty-three before he was asked to 
perform his first operation in private practice — "a 
trivial affair, but it may do for a beginning." ^ Paget 
was also warden of the hospital college, and in this 
capacity he enrolled all the students entering the 
school and advised them as to their course of study. 
There is no evidence that Turner carried any letter 
of introduction to him. In writing to Stephen Paget 

^ ' Memoirs and Letters of Sir James Paget,' edited by his son, Stephen 


in January 1900, of]eriri<,' him his sympathy on the 
death of Ins father, Sir James, he said : " I recall 
my first interview with him in October 1850, when, 
as Warden of St Bartholomew's, he entered my name 
as a student and gave me kind words of encour- 
a-;ement, and from that time onwards I invariably 
received from him help and sympathy when such 
were needed." The acquaintance formed in this 
olficial way gradually ripened into a close intimacy 
and friendshi}) based upon the mutual esteem which 
developed between teacher and pupil. 

The introduction in 1843 of the "collegiate sys- 
tem" into St Bartholomew's Hospital marked a 
distinct advance, and remedied a grave defect in 
the management of the school. There had previously 
been an entire lack of supervision and guidance of 
the student, and the absence of discipline, which 
was a natural result of want of control, had become 
a matter of some anxiety to the hospital authorities.^ 
A similar state of affairs characterised all the hospital 
schools of London at that period. In 1841, Henry 
Acland, then a student at St George's, was solicitous 
as to the uncared-for condition of his fellow-students 
and of those at the metropolitan hospitals generally. 
He was anxious to see the provision of houses in or 
near the hospitals in which students might be lodged 
economically and simply, the right of admission to 
such being dependent solely upon their good conduct.^ 
A residential college attached to St Bartholomew's 
was established for a limited number of students, and 
Paget was made the first Warden, and had his rooms 
in the building. 

His son Stephen, who edited his Memoirs and 
Letters, thus writes of his father at that time : — 

Science uover had a more willing servant: the one thing 
he was fightino; for was the right to live by teaching science 
to studentxH. He was truly a man of science: he "had the 

' (^P- <:**• * ' Life of Sir Henry Acland,' by J. B. Atlay. 


scientific mind, the true spirit of teaching : he was impatient 
of all slack thinking and vague talking, and he hated all 
casual and eccentric ways of working. Here was the man 
for a medical school. There was nobody quite like him at 
the hospital : there was no prophet in that Israel : the 
school was going down for want of a man inspired with 
the love of hard work in science, who would preach the 
gospel of hard work and not look back, or hedge, or take 
things easily : a man with a touch of asceticism in his daily 
life, and a passionate longing to raise the tone of hospital 
teaching, and to compel the students to worship with him 
at the altar of hard work. 

His personal influence and the discipline which was 
required of the residents in college began to develop 
a better standard of general conduct among all the 
students. The Warden soon knew every one, and his 
advice was continually sought. Paget resigned the 
wardenship in October of 1851. It was not until the 
spring of 1853 that Turner went into residence in 
college, so that it was chiefly in the class-room and 
in the wards of the hospital that he came into 
contact with Paget. 

In the winter session of 1850-51 there were up- 
wards of two hundred students of medicine at St 
Bartholomew's. Amongst those who entered for the 
first time along with Turner, and who later in life 
became leaders in their respective branches of the 
profession, were Thomas Smith, Jonathan Hutchinson, 
and Daniel Hack Tuke. The first-named, affectionately 
known as " Tom " Smith, afterwards received a baro- 
netcy and became senior surgeon to his old hospital. 

Turner's association with Sir Thomas Smith was a 
particularly pleasant one, and they remained close 
friends until the latter's death in 1909. The two 
men were mutually attracted, and they spent more 
than one holiday together on the Continent and in 
Scotland. Sir Thomas possessed a charm of manner 
and a rich fund of" wit and humour, and was endowed 
with a genial and sympathetic nature which endeared 
him to all who knew him. 


In tho winter of 1851 the hospital roll bears the 
name of two students of the first year of whom 
mention must be made — George RoUeston, afterwards 
Li nacre Professor of Anatomy and Physiology in the 
University of Oxford, whose scientific papers and 
addresses Turner edited after his death ; and William 
Newman, who for many years was a successful prac- 
titioner in the town of Stamford, in Lincolnshire. 
With both these men he retained a close friendship. 
After Rolleston's appointment to Oxford, Turner was 
in the habit of making almost an annual pilgrimage 
from Edinburgh to that city in order to visit his 
friend. The common nature of their pursuits and the 
strong personal regard which they entertained for 
each other led them to meet as often as it was 
possible. George Rolleston was one of the most 
prominent and brilliant figures in the life of Oxford 
between 1860 and 1880. In the year preceding his 
entry to St Bartholomew's, he had taken a first in 
Classics, and shortly afterwards he was elected a 
Fellow of Pembroke. His appointment as Linacre 
Professor in 1857 was of historical interest: it "was 
the germ out of which the Science School of Oxford 
has largely been developed. The Lee's Readership in 
Anatomy, which was held by Henry W. Acland prior 
to Rolleston's election to the chair, had laid the 
foundation of the biological department, but in 1857 
the teaching of Natural Science in Oxford became a 
living thing in Rolleston's hands. 

In Turner's student days neither medical education 
nor the examination system was on a satisfactory 
basis. In the first place, no preliminary examination 
in general education was exacted. While the appren- 
ticesiiip period was undoubtedly valuable in some 
respects, the time spent by the student at a recog- 
nised hospital varied according to the requirements 
of the different licensing bodies ; the Royal College of 
Surgeons of England required an attendance of three 
years, the Society of Apothecaries of London was 


satisfied with two years. It must further be under- 
stood by those who are acquainted onl}- with the 
modern curriculum, that men were entitled to com- 
mence practice upon a single qualification, in one case 
upon a diploma granted by a licensing body, in 
another, on a university degree. In one instance the 
qualification might be medical, as in the case of the 
L.S.A. given by the Society of Apothecaries ; in 
another, it bore the mark of surgery, as in the case 
of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, which 
granted the diploma of M.R.C.S. Although the 
student was taught at the hospital medical school 
all the subjects of the curriculum — medicine, surgery, 
and midwifery included — and his knowledge of each 
subject was tested by class examinations, the licensing 
board which finally gave him his diploma made no 
such complete test. The Apothecaries' Society, the 
portal through which so many men in England at 
that time entered upon practice, did not include 
surgery in its qualifying examination, while the 
College of Surgeons failed to test the candidate in 
midwifery. Consequently, men commenced their pro- 
fessional life without having shown evidence, as 
tested by examination, of being properly qualified 
in each particular branch. Such a state of affairs 
was certainly not in the best interests of the 

It was otherwise, however, with the M.B. degree 
of the University of London : the student's know- 
ledge upon all the subjects of the curriculum was 
duly tested, and, in addition, he was required to pass 
the matriculation examination before proceeding to his 
professional examinations. The University degree 
therefore implied a higher standard of knowledge. 

In Scotland, during the same period, the portals 
of entry into the profession were the M.D. degree of 
a Scottish University and the diploma of the Medical 
Corporations in Edinburgh and Glasgow, — single 
qualifications also, but carrying with them both an 


education and an examination complete in themselves. 
The College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, like the 
Scottish Universities, examined their candidates quite 
as fully in medicine as in surgery, and gave their 
licence upon that understanding. Scotland, in medical 
as in other branches of education, was ahead of her 
southern neighbour, and the public therefore received 
a " better article." We shall show later how legis- 
lation dealt with the obvious defects to which we 
have just referred. 

The subjects of study during the first winter at 
St Bartholomew's were lectures on General and Morbid 
Anatomy and on Physiology, along with lectures on 
Chemistry and General Surgery ; in addition, attend- 
ance was required at anatomical demonstrations and 
work was commenced in the dissectingf-room and in 
the surgical wards of the hospital. 

In October of 1850 Turner threw himself into his 
work with great energy and earnestness. His time 
was fully occupied ; the certificates of his class 
attendance which he had preserved clearly indicate 
the nature of his studies. The lectures on General 
and Morbid Anatomy and those on Physiology were 
delivered by Paget. To the St Bartholomew's men 
of that period the hour spent each day with him 
must have been one of great intellectual enjoyment, 
and contact with a man of his mental capacity must 
have had an inspiring influence upon the thoughtful 
student. Paget possessed the power of speaking 
fluently, while his subject-matter was always care- 
fully prepared l)eforehand. His lectures supplied 
nearly all the material for the first edition of the 
text-book of Physiology, written by Kirkes, who had 
been one of his best pupils. Two volumes of care- 
fully written notes of this course, made by Turner, 
furnish evidence both of the value of the matter 
which they contained and of the style in which the 
lectures were delivered. Turner has told us that 
they were much more than verbal expositions, and 


that Paget recognised the importance of appealing 
to the eye as well as to the ear, and of cultivating 
and stimulating the power of observation. The 
lectures were well illustrated by diagrams, and he 
utilised his skill as a draughtsman by drawing freely 
upon the blackboard. The phenomenon of the circu- 
lation of the blood was illustrated in a practical 
manner. His lecture on the heart was timed to 
correspond with some great turtle feast in the City 
of London, and the huge reptile reposing on the 
lecture table was made the medium of demonstrating 
the movements of the heart before beingr converted 
into soup to tempt the palate of the citizens. The 
circulation of the lymph, the presence of non-striped 
muscle in the coats of the blood-vessels, and the 
difference in the character of the contraction of striped 
and non-striped fibre, were all demonstrated in the 
lecture-room many years before classes of experimental 
physiology were organised and became special courses 
in medical education. 

Paget's influence, both as a lecturer and as a man, 
did not lose its hold on Turner with the passage of 
time. Fifty years later he recorded in vivid terms his 
impressions of those early days : — 

As an expositor of a difficult branch of medical science, 
Paget was facile j^rinceps. His untiring application made 
him conversant with the progress of his subject in all its 
details : his orderly mind marshalled the facts in logical 
manner : the keen eager face, the bright penetrating eyes, his 
facility in speaking, his choice of language and the charm of 
his delivery, presented the subject so as at once to attract and 
fix the attention of the large class of students. But, in addi- 
tion, his pupils felt that he was earnest in his work, that he 
was interested in them as individuals, an interest which showed 
itself both in the words of encouragement which they received 
during their pupilage, and in the support which he gave them 
at critical stages of their career in after life. Many will 
recollect and treasure the kindly look, the warm c^reeting, the 
affectionate shake of the hand which they received on meeting 
him, even years after they had left the school. 


From the passage just quoted, it will occur to many 
who, in after years, were privileged to be pupils of 
Turner, that some of the power of exposition, some of 
the greatness of the master, had been transmitted to 
his pupil. 

The lectures on Chemistry were given by John 
Stenhouse, whose teaching Turner frequently referred 
to with pleasure. There is no doubt that the manner 
in which he applied himself to this subject — a fact to 
which reference will be made later — must have stimu- 
lated the teacher's interest in his pupil. At the close 
of the winter session he was awarded the first prize in 
Chemistry, and he writes to his mother to tell her of 
his success : — 

Yesterday was a great day at the hospital, it being set 
apart for the distribution of the prizes. The company 
assembled about 2 o'clock. The Lord Mayor, a great number 
of ladies, the lecturers and medical officers, and all the students 
being present. I have got beautifully bound copies of two 
very excellent works, Whewell's ' History of the Inductive 
Sciences ' in three volumes, and Bacon's 'Novum Organuin ' 
in one volume. Two scholarships, a microscope, and many 
valuable books were at the same time given to other success- 
ful students. 

The anatomical demonstrations, which dealt mainly 
with Anatomy from the medical and surgical aspects, 
were conducted by Skey, one of the assistant sur- 
geons to the hospital ; Holden and Savory were the 

At the very outset of his period of study, the 
student was introduced both to the principles and to 
the practice of Surgery. Turner attended the lectures 
delivered by William Lawrence (afterwards Sir William 
Lawrence, President of the Koyal College of Surgeons), 
who was then senior surgeon to the hospital. His 
hospital ticket admitting him to the wards was signed 

• Holdeii's 'Text-Book on the Bones' became a well-known anatomical 
work. Sir William Savory rose to be senior surgeon to the hospital. 


by Lawrence, Edward Stanley, and E. A. Lloyd. In 
his ren:iiniscences of his student days he used to 
recount his surgical experiences in hospital and recall 
the details of some of the cases which were at that 
time in the wards. He would often relate with great 
vividness the impression that had been left upon his 
mind of the horrible effects of blood-poisoning and 
the terrors of hospital gangrene in the pre-Listerian 
days. In the surgical wards he followed for the most 
part the work of Stanley, the history of many of the 
clinical cases that were demonstrated being found in 
his student note-books. 

The session was a busy one, and to the industrious 
student there was ample opportunity for steady work. 
In a letter to his brother Robert, written in October 
1850, he says — 

I have to be at the hospital daily at nine in the morning, 
a lecture being then delivered ; we are occupied from that 
hour until half-past three in the afternoon, either in hearing 
lectures, in going round the wards, or in dissection. I am at 
present engaged in dissecting, having obtained for my share a 
leg, and I shall have to work hard at it before it getsputrified. 
In the evening we attend a lecture at seven o'clock. Thus you 
see that my time is fully occupied. 

Towards the end of November he writes agfain to 
his brother as follows : — 

I send you an engraving of the great Exhibition. On 
Sunday last I took a walk to see it ; they are proceeding very 
rapidly with the building, and it is expected to be finished 
towards the end of the year. 

On the 9th of November I went to look at the Lord Mayor's 
show ; in my opinion it was very poor, not at all coming up 
to my expectations. Last Sunday week I went in the evening 
to a church where the service is performed after tlie Puseyite 
fashion. Over the altar there was the cross, and on each side 
of it two lighted candles. The prayers were not read but 
drawled out in a sing-song manner, and interspersed with 
sundry bows and scrapes and genuflexions. The sermon was 
read in the middle of the prayers, and it was certainly a very 



in^eniouH one. Tho text wa.s, " Cllorying in the cross of 
ChriHt," uiul every inia^'inable ar^'urnont was brought to bear 
upon it, all tending to extol the cross above Christ. 

When you write again, tell nie liow far you are advanced 
in your classics and mathematics, also what position you hold 
in your class, and how you agree with the other boys. What 
time have you to amuse yourselves; do you get out much to 
see the country ? I suppose you had a demonstration on the 
5th. The country is quite in a turmoil, and no one knows 
when it will become cjuiet. Public meetings are held daily in 
London to petition the Queen against the Pope's assumption 
of authority. 

The more I see at the hospital, the more I realise how much 
I have to learn ; the knowledge required of us is very great, 
and if you have a conscientious desire to profit by the instruc- 
tion you receive, you must really work very hard. Sometimes 
in the evening I find time to go to some place of amusement, 
but that is almost the only relaxation I enjoy ; no tales nor 
novel reading. I have quite given them up : indeed, I never 
feel the w^ant of them. One evening James and I went to the 
Haymarket Theatre. We saw Macready play in King Lear ; 
he is the first living tragic actor, and it was certainly the 
perfection of acting. The bursts of passion he works himself 
into when convinced of the ingratitude of his daughters, 
Regan and Goneril, sent a thrill through me. I have not 
much to tell you of the sights of London, as I have seen very 
few of them. 

A visit to the theatre was his favourite form of 
recreation, and one which gave him keen enjoyment. 
He frequently recalled with pleasure his Saturday 
evening attendance in the gallery of the Haymarket, 
the old Stuller's Wells, and the Princess' Theatre. 
In the fifties of last century the London stao-e was 
rich ^ in the quality of its actors and actresses. 
W. C. Macready was a great Shakespearian exponent ; 
Charles Kean was in the heyday of his work and 
fame; while E. A. Sothern delighted his audiences as 
Lord Dundreary. Turner had a high opinion of 
Samuel Phelps, whom he saw at Sadler's Wells, and 
was most appreciative of the dramatic art of Helen 
Faucit. A strong impression was made upon him by 
the acting of J. S. Clarke in ''Paul Pry," and when 


in later years, he saw J. L. Toole impersonating the 
same character, his verdict was strongly in favour of 
the former comedian. In his Edinburgh days he was 
not a regular frequenter of the theatre, although at 
intervals he enjoyed a good play in the hands of a 
leading actor or actress. 

Apart from the daily contact with his fellow- 
students at the hospital and his intercourse with his 
cousin, Turner's life at this time was a lonely one. He 
had little opportunity of becoming acquainted with 
people. He made use of his leisure moments, however, 
in acquiring an extensive knowledge of London itself. 
He wandered all over the great city, and by the end 
of his student life there were but few parts of it with 
which he was unacquainted, not only geographically 
but in their historical associations. It is interesting 
to recall at this point that Turner possessed a very 
poor " bump of locality," and, notwithstanding that 
his form of recreation might have been expected to 
improve this defective sense, his ignorance of his 
exact whereabouts, or the correct direction to take on 
occasions, was sometimes very striking, and was liable 
to lead him into difficulties had he not been properly 
guided. During one of his many peregrinations in 
London, he was a witness of the last of the public 
executions conducted outside Newgate prison. 

In the month of February 1851, he writes again to 
his brother — 

I am going on as usual at the hospital ; as the termination 
of the session is approaching, all those students who are 
intending to try for prizes are working hard, while the idle 
ones are getting still more idle. There are great temptations 
for men to be idle here : amusements are numerous, and, being 
thrown so much on their own self-reliance, it is no wonder 
that so many are overcome. Are you likely to have many 
new scholars this half-year, any in your own class ? There is 
nothing like a little competition for making a man work. I 
hope that you have again entered into the spirit of j'our 
studies with an earnest desire to acquire everything you 
possibly can, as, unless your inclination tends to the church, 


it will be your last year at school, and the opportunity for 
ac(iuiring knowledge should not be lost. 

It it quite evident from these letters that the 
enthusiasm for work, which was such a dominating 
feature of his character throughout his life, had been 
early implanted in him, and that he fully recognised 
the necessity of constant application if success were to 
be achieved. His affectionate interest in his younger 
brother induced him to inculcate in him a similar 
desire to acquire knowledge, and the same influence 
undoubtedly made itself felt in after years upon many 
of those who passed through his hands. 

Towards the end of February 1851, he had the great 
misfortune to lose his brother, who, at the early 
age of fourteen, succumbed to a severe attack of 
erysipelas. He was undoubtedly a boy of very con- 
siderable promise, and some of the letters written from 
school to his mother and brother furnish evidence of 
unusual ability in a boy of his age. Mr Shepherd, 
writing from the school at Longmarton shortly before 
Robert's death, expressed entire satisfaction with his 
conduct and attention : " He has great amiability, 
possesses considerable ability, and will make a very 
good scholar ; he is in every way most promising, and 
it would give me great satisfaction to see him turn his 
attention to the church." 

With the opening of the summer session the follow- 
ing additional subjects w^ere included in the course of 
study : Lectures on Botany were delivered by Farre, 
and on Materia Medica and Therapeutics by Roupell, 
who was one of the physicians to the hospital ; a 
course on Midwifery and the Diseases of Women and 
Children was conducted by Charles West. Turner 
was awarded the first prize in Botany at the end of 
the term. 

The chief event in London during the early summer 
of 1851 was the opening of the great Exhibition in 
Hyde Park. Reference to the erection of the build- 


ings has already been made in one of the letters 
addressed by William to his brother, but in writing to 
his mother in the month of June he says — 

I have been twice to the Exhibition, and was very much 
astonished at its magnificence and beauty. It were vain for 
me to attempt to describe all its wonders ; such a collection of 
splendid objects, such a display of taste, and such an assem- 
blage of articles illustrating the wealth, the power, and the 
genius of man were never before collected together. The 
building itself -forms not the least important object of attrac- 
tion, and as you stand at one end and look down the central 
avenue, and see around you the principal productions of every 
country on the globe, you are lost in wonder and admiration. 

On the Wednesday when I was there last upwards of fifty 
thousand persons were in the building, and yet there was very 
little crowding or inconvenience, except around some few 
objects, such as the Great Diamond and the Queen of Spain's 
jewels. The greatest order prevails through the building. 
There are great complaints amongst the London tradesmen 
against the Exhibition, it not having been half as profitable 
to them as they supposed. There is no scarcity of lodgings, 
bills being seen in the windows in every direction. 

The time is daily drawing nearer when I hope again to 
have the pleasure of sitting in my mother's house, and when 
I hope that 1 can say that the ten months which I have lived 
in London have not been unprofitable. 

After the summer long-vacation, which was spent 
at home. Turner resumed his hospital course, with the 
intention not only of continuing his ordinary studies 
preparatory to qualifying, but with his mind bent 
upon passing the Matriculation examination of the 
University of London which was held in July of each 
year. This entailed a great amount of extra work, 
most of which bore no relation to the subjects of the 
medical curriculum. In after years he sometimes 
recalled memories of the strenuous days and nights 
which he spent during the winter of 1851-52. 

The London University Matriculation examination 
included a number of subjects : Mathematics — arith- 
metic, algebra, and the first book of Euclid ; the 


Classics — Greek and Latin, a subject being selected 
from either Homer or Xenopbon, and from Virgil, 
Horace, Sallust, Caesar, Livy, or Cicero ; Englisb in- 
chided grammatical structure and tbe outlines of 
History and Geography; Chemistry; Natural Phil- 
osophy, which included Acoustics and Optics. It is 
obvious, therefore, that while the hospital claimed 
his time and attention during the greater part of the 
day, his evenings must have been largely occupied 
in readintr over a somewhat extensive field. 

In July 1852 he passed the Matriculation examin- 
ation, and, along with his two friends Thomas Smith 
and William Newman, was placed in the first division. 
As it was open to any candidate to be examined for 
Honours, he enrolled his name for the Honours' ex- 
amination, choosing the subjects of Chemistry and 
Botany, in both of which, as we have already seen, 
he had taken prizes in his first year of study at St 
Bartholomew's. He was awarded the first prize in 
Chemistry and the second in Botany at the written 
examination, while his friend Newman was awarded 
the prize in Zoology. It is interesting to record here 
that at the ceremony for the presentation of degrees, 
honours, and prizes, held at the University of London 
in May 1853, the names of Joseph Lister and William 
Turner appear upon the same roll. The two men 
were as yet unacquainted with each other, and un- 
known to the world in which both were destined, 
each in his own sphere, to play so conspicuous a part. 
Lister received the degree of Bachelor of Medicine, 
and was awarded the scholarship and medal in 
Surgery, while Turner was awarded the prize in 
Chemistry in the Honours Matriculation examination. 
At the same convocation John Russell Reynolds and 
John Syer Bristowe received the M.D. degree, and 
Frederick William Pavy graduated as U.K ; Henry 
Enfield Roscoe took the degree of Bachelor of Arts 
with the })rize in Chemistry, and William Stanley 
Jevons obtained a prize in Botany at his Matriculation 


examination. Writing to his mother on July 19th 
Turner says — 

I delayed answering your letter until I could write with 
some certainty of the result of my examination. I am happy 
to say that I have passed in the first division, and can thus 
call myself an undergraduate of the University of London. 
We students of St Bartholomew's have done very well. Of 
nine who went up, six have got through in the tirst division, 
one in the second, and two are rejected. 

You can scarcely imagine the weight that has been taken 
off my mind now that the result of the examination has 
proved successful. They kept me waiting all last week, and 
you may judge the state of anxiety I was in for all that time. 
If I had been rejected after having devoted my time almost 
exclusively to the matter for the last three months, the loss I 
should have sustained both in reputation and in neglect of 
my other studies would have been almost irreparable. 

I was very sorry about the result of the Lancaster election ; 
the Tory party have, however, no one to blame but them- 
selves, for if they had not brought a fresh candidate in the 
shape of Mr Ellis, they might have returned Messrs Green 
and Gregson without any trouble. As it is, they suffer for 
their own obstinacy. Mr Green's life from this time will, I 
should think, be a perfect blank, as the length of time he has 
sat in Parliament must have made attendance there almost a 
necessary part of his existence. 

The borough of Lancaster returned two members to 
Parliament. Thomas Green, who is here referred to, 
had represented the borough in the Tory interest 
since 1826, a period of twenty-six years, which ex- 
plains the reference to the blank which would pro- 
bably be created in his life by his being unseated in 

In the Easter recess of 1852, prior to completing 
his work for the Matriculation examination, Turner, 
along with a friend, took a short holiday in the Isle 
of Wight. He thus describes his experiences in a 
letter written to his mother after his return to 
London : — 

Here I am all safe, having returned last night considerably 
improved by my trip, and having enjoyed myself very much. 


Yoii will, of course, know that we left town on Saturday 
moniin;,'. We arrived at Southampton about noon, walked 
about the town for some little time, and then took the boat 
for tlie island. We had rather a rough passage across; a 
strong north-cast wind was blowing, so that our passage was 
somewhat delayed. We arrived at Cowes in about two hours, 
but did not laud there, proceeding on our way to Ryde, pass- 
ing Osborne House, of which a fine view is obtained from the 
sea. We arrived at Ryde at half -past four, and after tea we 
walked to Quarr Abbey. We spent Sunday there, and in the 
evening walked to Sandown, a distance of about five miles. 

On Monday morning we left this place and took an easy 
walk through Shanklin, Bonchurch, and Ventnor, to Niton, 
a village at the extreme south of the island. This was, I 
think, one of the most beautful walks I ever took ; for 
a great part of the day we were upon the top of the cliffs 
overlianging the sea, and from there we had an extensive 
view of an immense tract of ocean, dotted here and there 
with the sails of numerous vessels coming up the Channel. 
We spent about two hours at Ventnor. 

Most of the places in this part of the island are increasing 
very rapidly in size, building is going forward at a rapid pace, 
and everything denotes that the places are becoming more 
popular year by year. We slept at Niton, and the next 
morning ascended St Catherine's Mount, a hill from whose 
summit there is an extensive prospect of the whole island, 
including the famous Needle Rocks, together with many 
parts of the south coast of England. 

We then visited Black Gang Chine, a kind of excavation in 
the clitF. At certain seasons after a heavy gale, or rain, or 
during a violent storm, I have no doubt it is terrible to look 
upon, but when we visited it after such a long continuance of fine 
weather, and with a sea on which there was scarcely a ripple, 
much of the efi'ect was lost ; in addition to this, people with 
very bad taste have built several houses almost encroaching 
on its sides and have laid out a portion of the grounds around 
as flower gardens, thus depriving it of that air of desolation 
which ought to constitute its peculiar grandness. 

After seeing this, we turned our steps up the centre of the 
island towards home. We passed Carisbrooke Castle, and 
turned aside to walk through the ruins. I saw the room 
where the unfortunate Charles was confined previous to his 
trial and execution. We then went to Newport, where we 
dined, and in the evening walked to Cowes. The following 
day was occupied in coming home. 


I was very much pleased with my trip ; the novelty of the 
place, the beauty of the views, the mildness of the climate, 
all conspired to render it extremely enjoyable. Our session 
recommences on Monday. 

Another letter to his mother, giving an account of 
the funeral of the Duke of Wellington in November 
1852, may very suitably be introduced at this point, 
as both it and the one just quoted are good examples 
not only of his power of observation, but also of his 
facility of description. 

We have had a week of pageants and processions, with the 
lying in state and the funeral of the Great Duke. 

On Thursday evening I went to Chelsea ; 1 arrived there 
at 8 o'clock, and after waiting about an hour and a half I was 
admitted. The passage led first into a chamber hung with 
black cloth and illuminated with wax candles ; on its walls 
the captured flags of foreign countries were grouped, encir- 
cling the coats-of-arms of the Duke. Standing around the 
room were soldiers of the Guards in their splendid uniform, 
glittering with steel and brass. The way then led up some 
steps to a doorway which opened into the Great Hall ; this 
was likewise hung with black; on the ceiling silver cords 
were extended hanging down the walls and terminating in 
long tassels ; these crossed each other and gave an appearance 
of groining to the roof. Extending down each side of the 
room were double rows of immense wax candles, supported 
in gilded stands, and on a raised platform down each side 
was a line of soldiers, leaning with a sorrowful air upon 
their muskets. 

At the end of the hall was placed the coffin, upon a lofty 
stand, having the ducal coronet on it ; surrounding this were 
numerous badges and orders belonging to the Duke. Seated 
below were officers of the Guards in military mourning, while 
overhanging all was an inmiense canopy of black cloth lined 
with cloth of gold. This being lighted up from below, cast an 
almost indescribable air of richness over the scene. 

On the following Thursday I took up my station on the 
parapet at the top of St James' Street, from where I obtained 
a very favourable view. The crowd of people was great ; the 
house-tops, windows, balconies, and shops were crowded with 
people and immense numbers were on the footway, but owing 
to the excellent police regulations and the long line of streets 


throuf^'h which the proccasion passed, every one, I think, must 
have had an opportunity of seeing. 

It would be vain for me to attempt to describe the great 
procession ; it occupied an hour and a half in passing the spot 
on which I stood. Not for years have so great a number of 
soldiers been gathered together; every regiment was repre- 
sented—cavalry, infantry, and artillery : the line, the Guards, 
and the Rifles all sent their quota. Then there were Prince 
Albert, the Duke of Cambridge, foreign marshals and English 
officers, representatives of the Houses of Parliament, the 
Ministry, Bishops, and Judges, all these testifying by their 
presence to the respect and admiration which they felt for 
the great departed. 

The coffin itself, protected by a silken canopy, was raised 
upon a lofty car drawn by twelve black horses, the car being 
covered with an immense black velvet pall embroidered with 
silver devices. Upon the coffin was placed the ducal hat, and 
resting at its side on a velvet cushion, the coronet. Following 
this was the Duke's horse led by a groom, and hanging its 
head with almost human sorrow. 

The proceedings within the Cathedral were, I believe, most 
solemn and impressive, but I cannot give you any account of 
them. 1 have no doubt that many sermons will be preached 
in the London churches to-day, in which the ceremonial of 
Thursday will be referred to. I heard Dr Cumming this 
morning ; he spoke verj' eloquently of the Duke's character, 
and held it up as a model which we all might follow. 

With the commencement of the winter session 
1852-53, Turner entered upon his third and last year 
of medical study. In the following summer he pro- 
posed to sit for the examination qualifying him for 
his diploma ; during the winter he completed his 
dissection of the human body ; he attended Paget's 
instruction in Morbid Anatomy, and, for the second 
time, took Dr George Burrows' lectures on the Prin- 
ciples and Practice of Medicine and his ward clinics. 
Burrows was the junior full-physician at St Bartholo- 
mew's, and a man of high attainments, who possessed 
the power of attracting to his hospital service the 
more industrious of the students. He was an excel- 
lent teacher. Of stately appearance, Burrows was 
held in high esteem by the profession, and in course 


of time became both President of the Royal College 
of Physicians of London and President of the General 
Medical Council. He received a baronetcy. 

The work of the final year entailed the preparation 
and revision of all the subjects of the curriculum, 
because the candidates were required to satisfy the 
examiners, not in a series of examinations, but at one 
final sitting, on the successful result of which the 
diploma was conferred. The examination was held 
in the month of June. Material evidence of the 
success of Turner's work at this time was forthcom- 
ing in the results of the spring examination at the 
hospital. He obtained the first prize in Practical 
Anatomy, being bracketed with Mr J. L. Dela Garde, 
and on 6th May 1853 he was awarded a scholarship 
in Anatomy, Physiology, and Chemistry of the annual 
value of £45 and tenable for two years. 

With his power of work and with the record of his 
past successes, he must have approached the final 
examination in a spirit of confidence. There were no 
written papers ; the students' knowledge was tested 
in a viva voce examination. The examiners sat at one 
side of a long table and the candidate passed in turn 
from one to the other. While from the method 
adopted the examination could not have been of a 
very searching character, yet the ordeal of having to 
face so many learned persons was doubtless sufiSciently 
trying, and not conducive to maintaining a calm and 
well-balanced mental attitude. 

Having successfully passed the crucial test, Turner 
received on 1st July 1853 his Diploma as Member of 
the Royal College of Surgeons of England. In a letter 
to his mother he writes : — 

It may not be uninteresting now, at the close of my third 
summer's attendance at the hospital, to take a review of what 
I have effected during my three years here, and also to esti- 
mate what I have paid in fees, books, instruments, and personal 
expenses during my residence in London. 

At the hospital I have taken the first prizes in Chemistry, 


Hotany, and Practical Anatomy, and a Hcholarship in Anatomy, 
Pliy.siolo^'y, and Chemistry. I have matriculated at the Uni- 
versity oi Ix)ndon, and taken there a first prize in Chemistry 
and a second in Botany, and I have passed the examination 
and obtained the Diploma of the Royal College of Surgeons. 
In addition to all these I have acquired a large stock of pro- 
fessional knowledge, the value of which could not be estimated 
by prizes or other personal distinction. 

The money I have received from home and my half-year's 
scholarship amount to £312, 5s. Of this I have now in hand 
£8. This gives an expenditure of £304, 5s. The outlay is as 
follows : — 

Fees — 

St Bartholomew's . 

London University, including cap 

and gown 
Royal College of Surgeons . 
Books .... 

Apparatus, instruments, and dissection 
expenses .... 

Personal expenses 

The above table gives a very fair estimate of my expenses 
and the diti'erent ways in which the money has been disposed 
of. I think, on looking at the personal expenditure, that no 
one can accuse me of extravagance. 

No one indeed could charge him with extravagance. 
The figures speak for themselves. When we realise 
that during his three years in London his personal 
expenses, which included board, residence, and the 
hundred and one small items which help to swell the 
debit account of any young man, averaged £48 per 
annum, the necessity of studying strict economy dur- 
ing his student days must have been a matter which 
at all times weighed heavily with him. He was 
mainly indebted to his aunts for the financial help 
which made it possible for him to pursue his medical 
studies in London, and it was natural that he should 
























seek to repay their generosity by steady application 
to work and by an honest desire to avoid unnecessary 
expenditure. The self-denial thus imposed upon him 
doubtless strengthened his resolution and stimulated 
the wish to persevere and attain success. 

His account book, commenced on the day of his 
arrival in London and always accurately kept, is a 
striking testimony both of his attention to the 
smallest detail and of the careful way in which he 
lived. The subject of his clothes appears at times 
to have been a cause of anxiety to him, and, on 
more than one occasion, we find him writing to his 
mother in some trepidation — 

I am again in want of money, the supply you sent me 
being only sufficient for another week. The amount required 
for the summer fees will be eight guineas. I shall also be 
compelled to get a new coat, and, in addition, I want one or 
two other little things, such as a pair of gloves and a new tie, 
all of which I shall get in town. I have given you a pretty 
long of my wants. I always endeavour to make my 
clothes last as long as possible, but they will become shabby 
in spite of the greatest care. 

Later on, when writing to her upon the same 
subject, he says — 

Oh ! would some enterprising individual arise who could 
manufacture garments that would wear to eternity if re- 
quired. If such a man did appear, great would be the 
rejoicing amongst such ever -seedy, ever -threadbare persons 
as myself ! 

The respect, one might almost say the affection, 
which he had for his older garments was character- 
istic of him all through life, and was often a source 
of anxiety to his wife, who was obliged from time to 
time to remove them surreptitiously irom his reach. 
In the family circle it was often a subject of friendly 
chaff and amusement. 

Having taken his Diploma of Membership of the 


Royjil College of Surgeons in the summer of 1853, 
Turner was at liberty, under the regulations which 
then existed, to start medical practice, though some 
students preferred, if possible, to obtain a double 
(jualification. There can be no doubt that this was 
also hie intention. Having passed, as we have seen, 
the Matriculation Examination of the University of 
London in the previous summer, he determined to 
devote a further period of time to the preparation 
of the subjects for the Intermediate or First M.B. 
Examination, his desire to do so being strengthened 
by the fact that he had gained a scholarship of the 
annual value of £45. With this end in view he gave 
up all thoughts of a summer vacation, and, early in 
July, commenced his work, the subjects for examina- 
tion being Anatomy, Physiology, Chemistry, Botany, 
Materia Medica, and Pharmacy. At the same time 
he obtained a clerkship under Dr George Burrows, 
which he held until the month of December. A 
large volume, containing three hundred pages of 
closely - written notes of clinical cases, remains as 
evidence of his work in the wards, a model of how 
cases should be taken and their progress recorded. 
In the month of October 1853 he was successful in 
obtaining the gold medal of the Apothecaries' Society 
of London. The medal was annually open to com- 
petition amongst the students attending the various 
medical schools in England, and was awarded to the 
student who passed the best examination in Materia 
Medica and Therapeutics. 

Early in January 1854, Turner read his first 
scientific paper at a meeting of the Abernethian 
Society, and it is interesting to note that it dealt 
with a therapeutical subject. The paper was entitled 
" Some of the Therapeutical Effects of the Iodide of 
Potassium." The Abernethian Society holds much 
the same position at St Bartholomew's as does the 
Royal Medical Society in Edinburgh. It was founded 
in 1795 as a students' society, and, as its name implies, 


was thus designated in honour of John Abernethy, 
the distinguished surgeon of St Bartholomew's at the 
end of the eighteenth and beginning of the nineteenth 

In the spring of the same year he prepared a paper 
upon the " Examination of the Cerebro-spinal Fluid," 
which clearly shows his practical knowledge of chemi- 
cal methods. It was communicated to the Royal 
Society by Mr Paget, and was published in the 
Proceedings of the Society in June 1854. M. Des- 
champs had recently demonstrated in a paper ap- 
pearing in the Bulletin de TAcademie de Medecine 
in 1852, that the cerebro-spinal fluid contained a 
constituent which possessed the peculiar property of 
reducing the blue protoxide of copper to the state 
of the yellow suboxide. As the power of reducing 
the oxide of copper is possessed by grape-sugar, the 
conclusion arrived at was that the cerebro - spinal 
fluid contained this constituent ; this reducing power, 
however, was not peculiar to grape-sugar, but was 
possessed by other organic substances, such as lactine 
and lactucine, so that this test alone could not be 
relied upon as aflbrding positive indications of its 
presence. Further confirmation was therefore neces- 
sary, and, in order to determine the point, Turner 
conducted a series of chemical experiments, the 
cerebro - spinal fluid being obtained from a case of 
spina bifida under the care of Mr Paget. As a 
result of his examination. Turner concluded that the 
power possessed by the cerebro-spinal fluid of reducing 
the protoxide of copper was not due to the presence 
either of grape-sugar or of any of the allied sub- 
stances ; whether it depended upon the presence of 
leucine or other modifications of albumin of a some- 
what similar nature, or whether it was due to the 
existence of a substance belonging to another series, 
was a point that had yet to be determined. Al- 
though later examinations have proved that the 
cerebro-spinal fluid does contain glucose, the pa})er 


was of some importance, as it was the first investiga- 
tion upon the subject made in this country. 

In April 1854, Turner was asked by Dr Kirkes to 
take his place as Demonstrator of Morbid Anatomy 
at the hospital for a period of three months. This 
temporary appointment, which provided Turner with 
excellent opportunities of studying pathology, might 
have led him to adopt a career very different from 
that which he eventually followed. The successful 
way in which he discharged his duties led Kirkes 
to ask him to consider whether he would not apply 
for the appointment when it fell vacant. The financial 
difficulties which would have arisen, in the event of 
his obtaining the demonstratorship, really led to his 
refusal of the offer. He sought his mother's advice 
and discussed the points in the following letter : — 

In my last letter I told you that Dr Kirkes had been 
appointed to the post of assistant physician to the hospital, 
and you may perhaps remember that I told you in a previous 
letter that during his canvass for the post I had undertaken 
the duty which he previously had performed. Yesterday he 
informed me that in consequence of his appointment to the 
higher post he should resign the one he has so long occupied, 
and as he was so pleased with the manner in which I had 
performed his duties, I should have his strongest recommenda- 
tion to the post when vacant. 

But now comes the question : Should I take such an office ? 
If I do, I must give up all thoughts of practising in the 
country as a general practitioner, and I must sit down con- 
tented as a subordinate at the hos^^ital for perhaps six or 
eight years, work hard and receive as my remuneration £50 
per annum, that being the salary attached to the post. During 
the whole of this period I should be pursuing my studies at 
the hospital and should have to qualify myself so as to pass 
the College of Physicians. Then, after the lapse of eight or 
ten years, if by dint of hard %vork I had acquired any position, 
ahoukl a vacancy occur, I should take my chance of being 
appointed assistant physician to the hospital. Durino- the 
whole of this period I could scarcely hope to make more than 
anotlier £50 or £60 a year by writing in journals or other 

I have to give Dr Kirkes an answer in the course of a 


week. My appointment to the post is still a matter of 
uncertainty, for as soon as his resignation is made known 
several other candidates will doubtless be in the field, and I 
should have to take my chance of getting the appointment, 
and as the claims, as well as th& age, of some of them are 
greater than mine, the preference would probably be given to 
them. The question which I wish you to consider is whether 
you would consent to my putting myself in nomination for 
the post ? Provided I got the appointment, the mode of life 
that I should have to follow is what I should like, because 
London and its habits present great charms to me, and 
although the post would require hard work with small re- 
muneration, yet the knowledge that I should acquire, the 
professional standing that it would give me, would amply 
repay me for years of privation and toil. 

In August 1854, he passed the intermediate exam- 
ination at the University of London and was placed 
in the first division, a position which qualified him 
to enter for the examination for Honours. As the 
result of this he was placed third in the subject of 
Chemistry, while in Materia Medica and Pharmaceu- 
tical Chemistry he gained the gold medal and an 
exhibition of £30 per annum, tenable for two years. 

In reviewing at this stage in Turner's career the 
list of prizes and honours which he had obtained 
during his four years of study at St Bartholomew's 
Hospital, one cannot fail to be struck, in the 
place, by the fact that all his distinctions were gained 
in the scientific subjects. In Midwifery, Surgery, and 
Medicine, on the other hand — that is to say, on the 
clinical side of the curriculum — no honours were 
awarded to him. It is evident that the science of 
medicine appealed more directly to him, and that his 
mental capacity was better adapted to deal with it 
than with the subjects pertaining more particularly to 
practice. In the second place, we find that his chief 
distinctions were obtained in Botany and Chemistry, 
and in those subjects in which Botan}^ and Chemistry 
form the chief basis — namely, Materia Medica, Phar- 
macy, and Therapeutics. It is true that he gained 



a first prize in Practical Anatomy and a scholarship 
in Anatomy, Physiology, and Chemistry at St Bar- 
tholomew's, but the outstanding fact remains that, 
with these exceptions, he did not reveal, at this time, 
any special predilection for the subject which after- 
wards became his life's work. The gold medals of 
the Apothecaries' Hall and of the University of 
London were both awarded to him in the subjects 
of Materia Medica, Therapeutics, and Pharmaceutical 
Chemistry, and in 1861, after he had taken up his 
residence in Edinburgh, he received the gold medal 
of the Pharmaceutical Society of London. 

Illustrations of the same bent of mind are to be 
found in the character of some of his earlier papers. 
Those upon " Some of the Therapeutical Effects of the 
Iodide of Potassium," and " The Cerebro-spinal Fluid," 
have already been referred to, but even later, in 1861, 
he writes upon "The Mode of Elimination of the 
Metal Manganese when employed medicinally," in 
which he showed that the drug was eliminated through 
the kidneys, and another on " The Properties of the 
Secretion of the Human Pancreas," while in 1866 
he describes " A case illustrating the Physiological 
Action of Iodine Vapour." While working in the 
chemical laboratory of St Bartholomew's as a pupil 
of John Stenhouse, his attention was directed to the 
oxidising property of charcoal and its importance as 
a deodoriser and disinfectant. Stenhouse himself was 
specially interested in the construction of the charcoal 
respirator, and had devised a useful form of oro-nasal 
mask for protecting the workmen from the noxious 
effects of the gases to which they were frequently 
exposed in the manufacture of chemicals. A special 
interest is attached to this fact. When, after the 
first deadly German gas attack at the second battle 
of Ypres in 1915, an urgent demand was made for 
an efficient means of protecting our troops, Turner 
recalled the early work of Stenhouse in this connec- 
tion, and gave his advice and assistance to Professor 


Lorrain Smith and his colleagues who were engaged 
in the pathological department of the University of 
Edinburgh upon the construction of a suitable 

There is no doubt that Turner's early training in 
the Mechanics' Institute in Lancaster, under the 
guidance of his old master, Dr Christopher Johnson, 
had stimulated his interest in the subjects of Botany 
and Chemistry, and directed his attention more closely 
to them and subsequently to Materia Medica and 
Pharmacy. There is no indication in his letters to 
his mother that he was turning his thoughts to a 
scientific career in any of these subjects, but it is 
related that, had he proved successful in another 
examination in chemistry for which he had entered, 
his intention had been to devote himself to the 
practice of medicine. Life as a physician in London 
had begun to appeal to him then, as it continued 
to do at a later period, but the financial question 
proved a stumbling-block. His successes in Chemistry, 
Physiology, Materia Medica, and Therapeutics fur- 
nished evidence of the way in which he was laying 
a sound foundation for a career of this kind. 

The difficult problem of determining his future 
course of action was presently to be solved in a 
manner and from a quarter in which it was probably 
least expected. 

Mr John Goodsir, the distinguished Professor of 
Anatomy in the University of Edinburgh, had been 
obliged, upon the ground of ill-health, to give up 
temporarily his professorial duties in the autumn of 
1853. He spent a year on the Continent undergoing 
special treatment. During his absence the work of 
the anatomical department was entrusted by the 
Medical Faculty of the University, with the sanction 
of the Town Council, to Dr John Struthers, who 
was at that time engaged in anatomical teaching 
in Surefeons' Hall. When Professor Goodsir re- 
turned to Edinburgh early in the autumn of 1854, 


it became necessary for him to obtain a staff of 
(lomonstrators in order to conduct the work of his 
department. Goodsir in his difficulty applied to Mr 
Paget and others in London for assistance, and as 
some of the correspondence which passed between 
the two men was found by Professor John Chiene 
amongst Goodsir's papers upon the death of the 
latter's brother, it may very fittingly he reproduced 
here. Although all the letters bearing upon the 
matter have not been preserved, the correspondence 
clearly indicates how Turner came to be appointed 
a demonstrator of anatomy in the University of 

Professor Ooodsir to Mr Paget. 

Edinburgh, September 1st, 1854. 

I take the Hberty of asking you if you know of any men 
about your hospital or in London who would be inclined to 
enter into engagements as demonstrators in my anatomical 
establishment. I re(]uire three at present to complete my 
staff, one to act as principal demonstrator, to superintend the 
dissecting room under my direction and to deliver a demon- 
stration on Surgical Anatomy daily during the session, the 
other two to assist the students in their dissections. 

To the principal demonstrator I am prepared to give a 
liberal salary ; to the others, salaries in proportion. 

The rooms are open from November till May, and from 
May to July inclusive, with short recesses at Christmas and 
in the beginning of summer. 

The number of students dissecting has averaged 350 in 
winter — 100 in summer. I am in the habit of giving every 
assistance in the way of advice as well as of co-operation to 
my demonstrators in the performance of their duties, and of 
attbrding all the facilities at my disposal for the promotion 
of their anatomical and phj'siological pursuits. 

I am inclined to believe that there must be men in London 
to whom such engagements would otier immediate as well as 
prospective advantages, and if you can refer me to any such, 
you will confer on me a very great favour, 

John Goodsir. 


From Mr Paget to Professor Goodsir. 

London, September Gth, 1854. 

I should be very glad of the opportunity of recommending 
good men for your demonstratorships, but at this time I am 
afraid that there are none at St Bartholomew's who would be 
at once willing and fitting candidates. The recent additions 
to our medical staff giving promotion to some and opening 
the way for others, have left us with few men who are likely 
to be promoted within some reasonable time. We are thus 
entirely without any one who would be a candidate for the 
senior demonstratorship with you, and for the junior there 
are only two, and I fear these might be deemed too young, 
for they are respectively only 21 and 22 years of age. They 
are, however, excellent men, thorough workers, and one of 
them has just gained a scholarship and exhibition at the 
University of London. But it might be worth while to ask 
Mr Gray of St George's, Mr Rainey of St Thomas', and Mr 
H. Power of the Westminster Hospital School. These, I 
think, are the best men in London who have not got fixed 
plans or (so far as I know) certain good prospects. 

You might rely, I think, on the future of any one of them ; 
the first two you doubtless know by their works ; the third 
I would guarantee to be one of the best demonstrators you 
have known. James Paget. 

The two young men referred to by Mr Paget in 
this letter as suitable for the junior demonstratorships 
were William Newman and William Turner. Turner 
had just gained the gold medal and exhibition at 
the University of London. Henry Gray afterwards 
became Lecturer on Anatomy at St George's Hospital 
Medical School, and has since become known to many 
generations of medical students through the popularity 
of his text-book on Anatomy, a book which maintains 
its position in the medical schools under the able 
editorship of Professor Robert Howden of Newcastle. 

Dr George Rainey was a demonstrator of anatomy 
at St Thomas' Hospital, but he finally gave up his 
post and settled as a general practitioner in one of 
the outskirts of London. 

Mr Henry Power, a very brilliant Bartholomew's 


Ktudent, was Demonstrator of Anatomy at the West- 
minster Hospital Medical School. He afterwards 
specialised in ophthalmology, and was first, ophthal- 
mic surgeon to St George's Hospital, and then held 
a similar appointment at his old school. He took a 
high position in his specialty in London, and died 
in 1911. 

From Mr Paget to Mr William Turner. 

London, September 25tk, 1854. 

Professor Goodsir of Edinburgh wants two assistants or 
junior demonstrators to guide the dissections of his students, 
and he otters £30 a year. I have no doubt from what I can 
say of you that you may have one of the appointments if you 
are so disposed. I cannot certainly say how much it would 
answer your purpose, but I think it would be right to accept 
such a post, if it would give suflBcient for you to live upon, so 
that you might pursue science for two or three years more, 
and gain a reputation which might be of much value in later 
life, even in practice. Power, I believe, will go down to be 
senior demonstrator, and I think I can answer for Professor 
Goodsir that you would find your personal relations agreeable 
enough. I cannot at all say what advantages the position 
would offer for success in higher places in Edinburgh. If 
I were in your place (so far as I know it) I should take the 
offer. It may lead to substantial good, and it cannot do less 
than give you an opportunity of studying in Edinburgh and 
making friends there in a favourable position. But while 
I say this, I am quite sure that you can judge for yourself 
much better than I can for you. William Newman, to whom 
I suggested the other of the two vacancies, declines, looking 
straight to private practice. James Paget. 

From Mr Paget to Professor Ooodsir. 

London, October 6th, 1854. 
I am very sorry to find that Mr Power has declined your 
Demonstratorship. His friends seemed resolved not to part 
with him, and it is but fair that you should know that their 
dissensions were grounded chiefly in the belief that no Eng- 
Ushman would be allowed to succeed as a surgeon in Edin- 
burgh. I do not hesitate to tell you this, because you have 


never given ground for such an opinion, I fear I cannot find 
another who might be recommended for the appointment. 
I would, indeed, in such a position, trust to Mr Turner ; for 
though, as yet, he is young, and without experience in teach- 
ing, he is one of those earnest, clear-headed men who seem 
always to succeed in what they undertake, and who quietly 
surmount whatever difficulties new positions bring them into. 

James Paget. 

Mr Goodsir to Mr William Turner. 

Anderton's Hotel, Fleet Street, 
London, Oct. 18, 1854. 

Having applied to Mr Paget to assist me in procuring 
Demonstrators for toy Dissecting Rooms in the University 
of Edinburgh, he some time ago informed me that you were 
willing to undertake the duties of a Junior Demonstrator. I 
am anxious to secure the assistance of two Junior Demon- 
strators, but, as it was necessary to know to whom the office 
of Senior Demonstrator was to he confided before arranging 
with the Juniors, I delayed communicating for a time with 
you on the subject. Finding it necessary to come to London 
regarding this matter, I failed in falling in with a gentleman 
of sufficient experience in teaching Anatomy who is not at 
the same time unwilling to give up for a time the prospective 
advantages of a metropolitan position. Under these circum- 
stances, from what I have heard from Mr Paget of your 
character, ability, and acquirements, I now, with his sanction, 
apply to you with the view of ascertaining whether you would 
become my Senior Demonstrator, Before proceeding, I must 
inform you that the duties of my Senior Demonstrator are 
stated generally as follows: (1) The superintendence under 
my guidance of the Dissecting Room. (2) To direct and 
assist the students in their dissections. (3) To give a Demon- 
stration at 4 P.M. five times a week in the class-room. 

You will admit that the performance of some of these 
duties requires a certain amount of experience, but I have 
been so strongly impressed by what Mr Paget has stated to 
me that I feel confident you will be equal to them. I shall, 
however, in regard to your demonstrations, give you every 
assistance and advice. I shall open the session myself, and 
take my place frequently at the demonstration table, if you 
should wish at any time to be relieved. I of course deliver 
the usual University Anatomical Lecture daily (at one o'clock). 
In regard to your salary, I am not prepared, considering that 
you have not yet had any experience in teaching, to offer you 


more, this session, than £200; but with the understanding 
that, should you continue with me and acquire the confidence 
of the class, this salary will be very considerably increased. 
In E(linbur<,dj you will have every facility in prosecuting 
Anatomy. Thysiology, and Chemistry in all their depart- 
ments, with a large hospital, library, museum, &;c. I myself 
will be at all times anxious to promote your pursuits by every 
means at my disposal. As our session opens in the beginning 
of November, we must decide speedily, and Mr Paget thinks 
you will probably consider it expedient to return to town to 
expedite our arrangements. John Goodsir. 

From Mr William Turner to Professor Goodsir. 

Lancaster, 24<A October 1854. 
I willingly agree to all the propositions specified in your 
letter of 18th inst. I shall endeavour to the best of my 
ability to render myself properly qualified for the several 
duties required of me. William Turner. 

It was natural that Goodsir should desire a personal 
interview with the unknown youth of twenty-two, 
who had accepted so responsible a position, and it is 
a tribute to Paget's faith in Turner's ability that 
Goodsir should have made the appointment without 
first seeing the candidate. On Goodsir's invitation 
Turner left Lancaster, where he was spending his 
holiday, and travelled to London to meet him. When 
])residing at a dinner of the University Club of London, 
held in May 1903 at the Criterion Restaurant, Turner 
told the story of his first meeting with his " chief" 
The interview is recorded in the Report of the Council 
of the Club as follows : — 

It is forty-nine years ago since my eminent predecessor, 
John Goodsir, came to London in search of demonstrators. 
My old teacher and life-long friend Paget suggested that I 
was the sort of man who would make an efficient demonstrator, 
and he introduced me to Goodsir. He asked me to dine w^ith 
him at his hotel. I believe that the hotel is still in existence. 
You know it by the name of Anderton's, in Fleet Street. But 
in those far-away days it was, I believe, a very different 
habitation from what it is now. I recollect very well the 


dining-room, div^ided into compartments, seated with hard 
wooden benches and with a sanded floor, and there I had my 
first dinner with Goodsir. 

After we had satisfied our respective appetites, he said to 
me: "Mr Turner, you will have to meet a class of 200 students 
and demonstrate to them. Now, let me hear how you describe 
the sartorius muscle." And so I described the sartorius muscle, 
and he said : " Very good, Mr Turner, that will do." That was 
the beginning of my career as a teacher of anatomy. 

Turner cannot have decided to accept the Edinburgh 
appointment without having given it very careful 
consideration. It offered him great advantages for 
extended scientific study, for which his quality of 
mind was obviously suited, as his previous successes 
clearly indicated ; nevertheless, the fact that he had 
to take up the important and onerous duties of teach- 
ing while yet so inexperienced, must have occasioned 
him serious reflection. At that time Edinburgh pos- 
sessed a brilliant constellation of teachers in medicine, 
and their fame must have strongly influenced his 
decision, as it doubtless increased the attractiveness 
of the offer that had been made to him. Some light 
is thrown upon his attitude of mind in a remark which 
he made in his speech at the presentation to the 
University of his portrait, painted by Sir James 
Guthrie in 1913. He had often wondered since he was 
appointed, a youth fresh from the students' benches 
of St Bartholomew's Medical School, which had the 
greater courage — the professor in choosing the youth, 
or the youth who dared to accept the appointment. 

In after years he did not forget his old Medical 
School and what he owed to it, and he encouraged his 
sons, when they had finished their medical studies in 
Edinburgh, to see the work of the Hospital. During 
some of his own visits to London he renewed his 
former acquaintance with " Barts," and expressed his 
pleasure in the man}^ improvements which had taken 
place both in the buildings and in the work of the 




Arrival in Edinburgh — The Profession in Edinburgh — The Anatom- 
ical Department — John Goodsir — Turner commences Teaching 
— Colleagues on the Staff — Pupils — Paget's Surgical Pathology 
— * Journal of Anatomy and Physiology.' 

In the early hours of a chill October morning in 1854, 
Turner crossed the Scottish border and arrived in 
Edinburgh to take up his duties as Demonstrator of 
Anatomy with Professor John Goodsir. The young 
Englishman was indeed a " stranger in a strange 
land " : he had neither friend nor acquaintance to 
welcome him, and with the exception of his " chief," 
he knew no one in the city. He could make no claims 
upon the citizens by right of birth, but as a Lancashire 
man, born in a part of England " inhabited by a people 
of somewhat similar type and cognate aims" to the 
Scotsmen amongst whom he had come to dwell, he 
was deserving of their sympathy and friendship. 
Paget had given him a letter of introduction to 
Edward Forbes, the brilliant naturalist, who had 
recently been appointed Professor of Natural History 
in the University in succession to Jameson. The 
letter was, however, never presented, because Forbes 
took ill and died on November 18th, at the early age 
of thirty-nine. By a curious irony of fate Turner was 


called upon to perform the post-mortem examination 
upon the body of the man who, had he lived, would 
doubtless have welcomed and assisted the young 

Turner occupied lodgings in Lauriston Place, in the 
house which now stands immediately to the east of 
Archibald Place. If at times an overpowering sense 
of nostalgia came over him, it was not to be wondered 
at in the circumstances in which he was placed, but 
he would not allow his personal feelings to interfere 
with the work to which he had set his mind. 

" Edinburgh ! what memories that name recalls," 
he said on a public occasion in the closing years of his 
life ; " more than most cities it exercises an influence 
on those whose lot it is to come and live in it when 
the mind is fresh and open to new impressions, deeper, 
I believe, than is felt by those who are born and 
brought up in its midst. I refer to the genius loci, 
the spirit of the locality. What a revelation to see, 
for the first time, the old and new towns perched on 
the sides and summits of eminences, about midway 
between the adjacent hills and the Forth, command- 
ing a varied and glorious prospect of mountain and 
sea, of wooded heights and fruitful fields. The city, 
with its traditions and history, its monuments and 
pubhc buildings, the Castle surmounting a precipitous 
rock, the church of the Holy Rood with its royal 
palace, the ancient streets and modern squares associ- 
ated with nobles, divines, philosophers, men of letters 
and of science, took firm possession of my imagination. 
No one with a feeling for the past but must become 
inspired by such an environment, and be impelled to 
labour for his generation and for the future." 

Turner sometimes related an anecdote of one of 
his earliest experiences in Edinburgh, which had evi- 
dently struck his imagination. On a particularly 
windy morning, a not uncommon occurrence, he stood 
and watched the progress of a baker's boy deftly 
balancing his tray of loaves upon his head. The 


sight was novel to liim, and as his eyes followed the 
boy's steps, suddenly a violent gust of wind swept 
down the High Street, depositing the tray upon the 
ground and scattering the loaves over the street. 
This once familiar figure has now disappeared from 
the city. Motor tricycles and vans have made the 
loaf safer for the people, but science has not yet 
harnessed the gales and the violent gusts of wind 
and thereby made the streets less unpleasant for the 

Literary Edinburgh had passed from the zenith of 
the reputation which she had made for herself during 
the first half of the century, and in 1854 death had 
been busy in the ranks of those who had contributed 
to the fame of the city. John Gibson Lockhart, though 
for many years resident in London, had answered 
the call, and in the spring, death had claimed the 
commanding figure of " Christopher North," and had 
thus deprived the pages of 'Maga' of two who had 
been its most brilliant and loyal contributors. Within 
a few weeks Lord Cock burn had followed John Wilson. 
Professor Aytoun in the chair of Rhetoric was in the 
heyday of his reputation, and was constantly giving 
his services to ' Blackwood's Magazine.' Robert 
Chambers, the anonymous author of the ' Vestiges 
of Creation,' which was denounced by Huxley as a 
plagiarism of Lamarck, was still engaged in his liter- 
ary pursuits. Mrs Oliphant had not as yet given 
to the world the results of her untiring industry, 
but Miss Catherine Sinclair, the authoress of ' Holiday 
House,' was a familiar figure in the life of the town. 

The University, like the city, had its inspiring 
influence upon the youthful mind, not only from the 
fame of the men who had taught within its walls in 
the past, but from the reputation enjoyed by those 
occupying the chairs at that time, more especially in 
the Medical Faculty. 

They constituted a remarkable body of men, and, 
with scarcely an exception, each was a leader in the 


subject which he professed. They possessed marked 
individuahty and force of character, and sustained 
and strengthened the position of the University as 
a school of medicine. John Goodsir had a world-wide 
reputation as the most philosophical anatomist of the 
century. John Hutton Balfour occupied the chair of 
Botany ; Hughes Bennett was Professor of the Insti- 
tutes of Medicine, and, in addition to his powers as 
a lecturer, he had an acknowledged distinction in 
the departments of Physiology and Medicine. His 
musical gifts, in conjunction with those of Douglas 
Maclagan, Christison, and Alexander Peddie, pro- 
vided much enjoyment, not only to the profession 
but to the general public. The Amateur Vocal Club 
of which they were members contributed to the social 
life of the city.^ William Pulteney Alison, probably 
without a superior and scarcely a rival in his depart- 
ment, was Professor of Medicine, but failing health 
compelled him to resign in the following year. A 
gifted physician, of wliom the most distinguished of 
his pupils, William Stokes, has written, " he was the 
best man I ever knew. I wonder how it has hap- 
pened that men should forget what reverence is due 
to his memory — whether we look upon him personally 
as a man of science and a teacher, or at his life as 
that of an exemplar of a soldier of Christ."- Sir 
Robert Christison, previously Professor of Medical 
Jurisprudence, then adorned the chair of Materia 
Medica, and, apart from his great scientific reputation 
as the leading toxicologist in Britain, he was an 
outstanding personality both in the University and 
in the city. His tall commanding presence and 
swinging stride made him a striking figure in the 
streets. Sir James Young Simpson was Professor 
of Midwifery, the man of genius who in 1847 had 
brought into use in surgical practice the anaes- 
thetic properties of chloroform. The house in Queen 

' ' Life of Sir Robert Christison, Bart.' 

* 'William Stokes.' Masters of Meilicine Series. 


Street was the shrine which attracted strangers 
from both sides of the Atlantic, and which made 
Edinburgh at that period a veritable Mecca for the 
sick. James Syme filled the chair of Clinical Sur- 
gery, the first surgeon of his day and generation, 
and James Miller was his colleague in the chair of 
Systematic Surgery. Syme and Simpson, so often in 
opposite camps, were still fighting their duels, airing 
their protestations in the daily press, and opposing 
.each other in the courts of law. William Gregory, the 
last of the " Academic Gregories," occupied the chair 
of Chemistry. As the successor to Hope he had 
realised the dream of his youth. The friend of Liebig, 
in whose laboratory at Giessen he had studied for 
several years, he took the premier position in Scotland 
as a chemist, and contributed much that was of value 
to the science.^ 

While the occupants of the medical chairs were 
shedding lustre upon the University, there were also 
in the "extra-mural" School men who undoubtedly 
assisted in enhancing the reputation of medical teach- 
ing in Edinburgh. They belonged to a younger set, 
who were laying the foundation of the distinguished 
careers which awaited them later on. John Struthers, 
afterwards Professor of Anatomy in Aberdeen, was 
Assistant Surgeon in the Ro3^al Infirmary ; he lec- 
tured upon Anatomy, and was rapidly strengthening 
his position in that department of science. James 
Matthews Duncan, a graduate of Aberdeen Univer- 
sity, had recently commenced his career as an extra- 
academical teacher of Midwifery, and his success as 
a practitioner was steadily increasing. Amongst the 
younger physicians and surgeons, mention must be 
made of William Tennant Gairduer, afterwards Pro- 
fessor of Medicine in the University of Glasgow ; of 
James Spence, who lectured on the principles of 
Surgery until his succession to the chair of Surgery 

' 'The Academic Gregories,' by Agnes Grainger Stewart. Famous 
Scots Series. 


on the death of Miller ; and of Douglas Maclagan, who 
taught Materia Medica, and later succeeded Traill in 
the chair of Medical Jurisprudence. Henry Duncan 
Littlejohn had just been appointed Surgeon of Police, 
and though he did not receive his appointment as 
Medical Officer of Health until 1862, he had com- 
menced his long and notable service in the interests 
of the city. James Warburton Begbie, one of the 
ablest teachers of clinical medicine, who became the 
leading consultant in Scotland, was President of the 
Royal College of Physicians ; and Dr John Brown, 
who had not yet given to the public the immortal 
* Rab and his Friends,' was Librarian of the College. 

Turner entered this professional circle at a time 
when it could hardly be regarded as a united and 
pacific body, but the disputes of the period must be 
studied before being fully appreciated by those who 
live in the calmer atmosphere of the present. He 
was a young man with the whole future before him, 
but nevertheless a youth whom his seniors soon learnt 
to respect, and to whom they were always ready to 
extend their assistance. His first introduction to 
archaeological exploration was given to him by Simp- 
son at the Catstane Field of Kirkliston, while he in 
turn was of considerable assistance to the Professor 
in conducting his post-mortem examinations. 

There had recently stepped into the same arena 
another young Englishman, Joseph Lister, with whom 
Turner very early formed an acquaintance which 
ripened into an intimate and life-long friendship. 
Lister, on the completion of his period as House 
Surgeon at University College Hospital, London, in 
1853, had been sent to Edinburgh by Professor 
Sharpey with a letter of introduction to Syme, in 
order that he might see some of the work of that 
distinguished surgeon. In February 1854, the same 
year in which Turner came north. Lister was ap- 
pointed House Surgeon to Syme, and the two young 
Englishmen, probably little realising at the time that 


their stay in Scotland was more than a temporary 
arrangement, forgathered at " Millbank," Syme's 
house in the Morningside district. 

"I first made his acquaintance in 1855," Turner 
wrote to Godlee, Lister's biographer, "and my early 
intercourse with him ripened into friendship, and an 
increasing admiration and esteem for his intellect and 
character. He displayed, from the commencement of 
his studies as a graduate, a scientific habit of 
thought, and he showed a great capacity to conduct 
histological research." 

Lister's fellow-residents in the old Royal Infirm- 
ary were John Beddoe, David Christison (the son of 
Sir Robert), John Kirk (afterwards Sir John Kirk 
of Zanzibar), George Hogarth Pringle, Alexander 
Struthers (brother of John Struthers the anatomist), 
and Patrick Heron Watson. On the completion of 
their term of office, all, with the exception of Lister 
and Pringle, volunteered their services for duty in 
the Crimea. A.lexander Struthers died from malaria 
while on service. The following extract from a letter ^ 
written by Beddoe to John Struthers is not without 
interest at the present time : — 

British Hospital, Dardanelles, 
Artgust 1855. 

We have no patients, and we are reduced to a kind of 
medical cannibals, preying only on each other. Fortunately, 
however, we have little need even of that sort. 

Dr Christison had an attack of intermittent fever (tertian), 
but soon shook it off. Now and then a case occurs amoncr 
the workmen, but I do not think there is any really malari- 
ous locality in our neighbourhood; indeed, this is probably 
one of the healthiest spots in the whole country. Exposure 
to the sun sometimes causes what is called " sunstroke," but 
as to the real nature of the atfection I cannot make up my 

We spent five weeks at Scutari, having had quarters 

I I am indebted to the family of the late Sir John Struthers for this 


assigned to us in the village, but no duty. The hospitals 
there were in excellent condition, but half empty, and there 
was a large overplus of medical men. Of your poor brother, 
everybody who had known him spoke, as was to be expected, 
in the highest terms. There is no doubt that, great as was 
the pressure of work thrown upon him in the then crowded 
and disorderly state of the hospitals, his conscientious anxiety 
led him to exert himself even beyond that amount. 

Patrick Watson, I am sorry to hear, is but slowly recover- 
ing from an attack of dysentery. He is now at Scutari, but 
I suppose you will see him before long in Edinburgh. 

Pray remember me kindly to Mr Spence when you see him, 
and believe me, J. Beddoe. 

John Beddoe, who was somewhat older than his 
colleagues, had already produced evidence of his 
scientific ability by the publication of his work upon 
Scottish Ethnology. His anthropological investiga- 
tions brought him later into touch with Turner, when 
both men were engaged upon similar lines of re- 
search. David Christison afterwards devoted much 
attention to archaeological work in Scotland, and for 
a number of years acted as Secretary to the Anti- 
quarian Society of Scotland. He and his brother 
John, who was for a considerable period Secretary 
to the University Court, became very intimate with 
Turner, and they enjoyed each other's society for 
many years. 

The Anatomical Department occupied the north- 
west corner of the Quadrangle of the University 
buildings. The structural alterations which have 
been carried out for the purpose of making the Ex- 
amination Hal], and in connection with other changes, 
have completely altered the department of Goodsir's 
time. The Anatomical Museum was on the ground 
floor, now occupied by the Examination Room. The 
Lecture Theatre, which was used jointly with the 
Professor of Surgery, was situated upon the floor 
above the Museum, but it and the rooms adjoining 



have now been handed over to the Education and 
History Departments. The dissecting-rooms, a larger 
and a smaller room, along with the bone-room, were 
on the top floor, and though the lighting arrange- 
ments were good, the cubic space allotted to them 
was far from satisfactory. The roof has since been 
raised, and with the necessary alterations it has 
become the home of the Geographical Department. 
It is difficult for those who are acquainted only with 
the spacious buildings in Teviot Place to realise how 
difficult it must often have been to carry on the 
work of a Department which was steadily growing. 

Goodsir, who had been Curator of the Museum of 
the University and Demonstrator of Anatomy under 
Monro tertius, had succeeded to the Chair in 1846, at 
the age of thirty-two. His success as a teacher was 
rapidly assured. His first aim had been to extend 
and improve the work in the dissecting-rooms, and 
to inaugurate a tutorial system of instruction, so 
that the student might have more favourable oppor- 
tunities of seeing and examining for himself the 
structures described in the lecture-room. He con- 
tinued the daily anatomical demonstration which had 
been instituted by Monro secundus, and this he dele- 
gated to his chief assistant. In this way the human 
body was topographically described by the aid of a 
series of carefully-prepared dissections, and it proved 
a popular method of instruction. Goodsir always 
regarded the teaching of histology, or the microscopic 
structure of the tissues, as coming within the scope 
of the department of Anatomy, and as forming, there- 
fore, an essential part of the course. It was at first 
taught by means of diagrams, but with the improve- 
ment in scientific apparatus he introduced the micro- 
scopic demonstration. 

Turner has testified to the value of Goodsir's 
methods of instruction, to the trul}^ scientific spirit 
which pervaded the whole of his teaching, to the 
influence which his straightforward, manly character 


exercised upon those who came into personal contact 
with him, and to the example which he set of true 
work done in no self-seeking spirit. He was an 
ardent student of organic science, and with unflag- 
ging industry he devoted himself to the duties of his 
Chair. He was not a mere descriptive anatomist, 
with his outlook confined to its surgical and medical 
aspects, but, availing himself of all the most recent 
improvements in methods of study, he investigated 
and taught the science in its relation to physiology, 
pathology, and development. His lectures were illu- 
minated by the results of his own investigations, 
and he would point out and suggest the direction 
towards which inquiry might most profitably be 
turned, with a view to further discoveries. He thus 
stimulated enthusiasm for the science, and encouraged 
his assistants and pupils in the work of research. One 
of his great projects was to improve and enlarge the 
Anatomical Museum, founded by Monro secundus, and 
to-day the Museum bears witness to the success of his 
aims. Turner was indeed fortunate in being brought 
so early in his life into daily personal contact with a 
man of so marked a personality, of so vigorous an 
intellect and so original in his conception, as was 
John Goodsir. 

Considerably invigorated by his long rest, Goodsir 
resumed his professorial work in the autumn of 1854 
with much of his former energy, and delivered the 
daily lecture at one o'clock. He was not an at- 
tractive lecturer. Somewhat monotonous in his 
delivery, he was devoid of rhetorical flourish. There 
was little in his manner to captivate the student. 
Tall of stature, grave in demeanour, and almost 
gaunt of feature, he was the victim of bad health, 
which betrayed itself in the lines of premature old 
age which marked his countenance. He lived and 
worked by the sheer force of his will. The anatomical 
class, which had numbered 368 during the year pre- 
ceding his enforced absence, was somewhat reduced in 
numbers upon his return ; but, in the following year. 


350 men enrolled their names. The tutorial instruc- 
tion and the work in the dissecting-room devolved 
upon Turner and the two junior demonstrators, 
Edwards and Sayer, both of whom had come from 
London at the same time as Turner. 

Alexander M'Kenzie Edwards had been warmly- 
recommended to Goodsir by Sir William Fergusson 
of King's College Hospital. Edwards was a young 
man of great ability, but his sympathies were surgical 
rather than anatomical. After acting as Demon- 
strator until the end of the Session 1857-58, he com- 
menced surgical practice in Edinburgh, and, in May 
1863, was appointed assistant surgeon to the Royal 
Infirmary, the vacancy in the staff having been 
caused by the promotion of Patrick Heron Watson. 
Dr Joseph Bell was an unsuccessful candidate for 
the same appointment. Edwards, who had married 
a daughter of Robert Chambers, had the misfortune 
to lose his wife early in their married life. This 
fact, and the condition of his health, caused him to 
resign his position at the Infirmary in April 1865 ; 
he left Edinburgh, and died in London in 1868. 

Frederick W. Sayer, who bad been recommended 
by Professor Sharpey of University College, was the 
Junior Demonstrator, but he unfortunately died after 
a very brief period of service. He was succeeded by 
Frederick Paul, who had a great reputation as a 
dissector ; he, however, resigned his appointment in 
1857, and death claimed him also as a comparatively 
young man. 

Turner's chief duty, in addition to superintending 
the work of the dissecting-room, was to deliver the 
daily anatomical demonstration at four o'clock. " I 
have never forgotten the kind words which Goodsir 
spoke, when introducing me to the Demonstration 
class, nor the hearty welcome with which the students 
received me — a stranger from another school — nor the 
patience which they displayed in listening to my pre- 
lections, often imperfect and hesitating." The feelings 

WILLI A M T I' R X K R, .^t. 


[From a daguerreotype taken in 1854. 


of the young and inexperienced teacher, preparing 
and delivering his first demonstration, can be readily 
understood. A nervousness not unnatural to the 
occasion, and anxiety lest he should fail, would be 
combined with the determination at any rate to do 
his best. Even after the experience of forty -nine 
years of teaching, Turner always felt nervous at the 
opening lecture of the winter session, though his 
manner probably never revealed this to his class. 

His figure, of medium height, was spare — he would 
have described himself at that period as thin — 
alert and active; his clean-shaven face, grave and 
thoughtful in expression, was lit up with keen blue 
eyes, and dominated by a lofty forehead, while his 
finely -shaped head was covered with fair hair. It 
was thus that he appeared as he faced his class. 
His voice, clear and resonant — -a powerful asset which 
he retained with very little impairment to the end 
of his life — could not fail to impress upon his audience 
the masterfulness of the mind, whose thoughts it ex- 
pressed in no uncertain manner. 

After a few introductory words, he passed to the 
subject-matter in hand. " Gentlemen, after what was 
said to you yesterday by Professor Goodsir, respecting 
the nature and objects of the series of demonstrations 
which he has deputed to me to deliver in this class- 
room during the session, I cannot but feel that any 
introduction on my part would be not only needless, 
but at the same time contrary both to your wishes 
and inclination. Permit me, however, to thank you 
for the cordial manner in which you have received me 
on this my first appearance before you as demon- 
strator, and allow me to hope that those relations 
which have commenced in so friendly a manner on 
your part, and, I trust, not the less so on my own, 
may continue between us throughout the course." 
The* first demonstration consisted in a survey of the 
surface anatomy of the back, followed by a description 
of the cutaneous nerves. 


His own impressions of his early efforts are recorded 
in a letter to his mother, written after his first week 
of teaching : — 

I have now got comfortably settled down to my course of 
work. I have plenty to do, but not more than I can con- 
veniently finish in the course of the day. Professor Goodsir 
formally introduced me to his class on Monday as the 
gentleman who had been selected by him to give the daily 
demonstration at four o'clock. I commenced on the following 
day, and had every reason to be satisfied with the manner 
in which I was received by the students. I lectured to them 
for about three-quarters of an hour on that day. I heard 
that the students were very well satisfied with me, and, if I 
may judge from the degree of attention they paid to me, 
both on that and on the following three days, I think I may 
safely say that, so far, I have succeeded. I go into lecture 
each day tlioroughlj^ prepared with my subject, having thought 
well over it and arranged in my mind the way in which I 
intend to deliver it, but without selecting the language in 
which it has to be spoken. With the plan thus laid down, 
I find no difficulty in selecting the words in which to speak 
it. I have a large marble table before me on which the 
materials are placed. The top of the table is movable, so 
that I can turn it round in order that the specimens may be 
shown to the students sitting in various parts of the room. 
I am delighted with the Professor ; his manner is kind in the 
extreme, and he is disposed to make my position one of 
considerable trust and importance. He has entrusted me with 
a duplicate set of keys, and has given me authority over the 
servants in his department. 

I am very comfortable in my lodgings, and am well and 
honestly attended to. On Wednesday evening I dined with 
Professor Simpson, Mr Paget having sent me an introduction 
to him. I met there several professional gentlemen of 

I like Edinburgh very much ; the air is sharp and bracing, 
and I should think that this would allow me to do my 
work better than in the milder and softer atmosphere of 

The class-room table here referred to was Goodsir's 
table. In due course it was transferred to the ana- 
tomical theatre in the University New Buildings in 


Tevlot Place, and it was used by Turner during the 
whole period of his professorship, his last lecture — 
like his first demonstration — being delivered from 
behind it. 

His success as a teacher was assured from the first. 
It is evident from a letter of Mr Paget's, written to 
Goodsir, that the young demonstrator had made a 
most favourable impression. " Your report of Turner's 
success gives me the sincerest pleasure. To have 
helped in training such a man and in obtaining such 
a place for him is enough to brighten more than one 
year of teaching that might otherwise seem dull and 
nearly useless. I heartily hope that you may yet 
work together for many years with the mutual esteem 
which it is my happiness to have heard each ex- 
pressing for the other." 

Not only as a teacher, but as a friend, Turner soon 
acquired the confidence of the members of his class. 
His demonstrations were thoroughly appreciated and 
were attended regularly by the men, notwithstanding 
the late hour in the afternoon at which they were 
delivered. " It was the last class of the long day. 
Though the hard-working students had commenced at 
nine in the morning, and with the exception of half 
an hour for lunch had filled in the whole day with 
lectures, dissections, hospital, and museum, yet he 
made the demonstrations at 4 p.m. so popular that 
we went home exhilarated by his masterly handling 
of a subject so important for all of us." ^ His attitude 
towards his students was one of unvarying kindness, 
courtesy, and patience, which won for him their re- 
spect and esteem. *' Sometimes he would accompany 
one of us to a difficult or dangerous case in the 
Cowgate or Grassmarket, and give the benefit of his 
large experience. Such actions as these endeared him 
to every thoughtful student of the day, and laid the 
foundation of a popularity which lasted throughout 

1 Emeritus Professor M'lutosh of St Andrews University, a member 
of the class in 1857. 


his long and busy life. Moreover, he kept up his 
interest in all earnest graduates subsequent to their 
college life, and was ever ready to encourage them 
])y communicating their papers to the Royal Society 
of Edinburgh." ^ 

Professor J. G. M'Kendrick, who studied in Edin- 
burgh a few years later, has thus described his 
recollections of the young demonstrator. "I well 
remember his active and vigorous figure. He was the 
most precise speaker I ever listened to. It was not 
eloquence, and there was no philosophy. His exposi- 
tion was a w^ork of art ; nothing could be more 
lucid and nothing could be more adept than the 
movements of the demonstrator when he elevated on 
the handle of the scalpel the artery or the nerve 
under consideration. The dissection was always skil- 
fully made by the prosectors under Turner's direction, 
and it was planned out with great skill." One phrase 
in this description will recall to many of Turner's 
old pupils certain words of his which must have 
become familiar to them when attending his demon- 
strations : " I take and put upon the handle of this 
instrument." He had early been impressed with the 
importance of cultivating the faculty of observation 
by reading a dialogue betw^eer a tutor and his pupil 
entitled " Eyes and no Eyes, or the Art of Seeing," 
in which the important lesson was taught him that 
the art of seeing bore a relation to the degree in 
which the attention was concentrated upon the object 
looked at, and the distinction between vacant gazing 
and intelligent observation was clearly pointed out. 
In the dissecting room and in all the departments 
of his teaching he endeavoured to impress upon his 
pupils the necessity of their seeing the objects con- 
cerning which they were reading. 

His colleague, Professor J. S. Blackie, in acknow- 
ledging on one occasion in after years the receipt 
of an address which Turner had sent him, wherein 

* Letter from Professor M'Intosb. 


he had emphasised the value of intelligent observa- 
tion, wrote him the following reply : — 

My dear Anatomist, — Thanks for the lecture, with which 
I entirely agree. The conquest of fact and the banishment 
of theory is the law of progress. Truth is the root, beauty 
the flower, and wisdom the fruit of all spiritual and of all 
physical growth. And the first step in physical truth, of 
course, is, as you observe, the use of our eyes. 

Here our education is essentially wrong. We do not use 
our eyes, but we are the slaves of our own tools : dead books 
and dry rules and cram. I want a living education with as 
much soul and as few books as possible. J. S. Blackie. 

Turner's first session in the Department was not 
altogether a happy one. The pleasure which he took 
ill his work and the satisfaction which he must un- 
doubtedly have derived from the knowledge that he 
fully merited the confidence which Paget and Goodsir 
had placed in him, were somewhat marred by the 
relations which existed between himself and his junior 
colleague Edwards. The latter, rightly or wrongly, 
took up the attitude that their positions ought to 
have been reversed, and that his previous experience 
as a Demonstrator of Anatomy in London entitled 
him to the senior post under Goodsir. The relations 
between the two men were therefore strained, and 
Turner did not receive from his junior colleague all 
the assistance which he was justly entitled to expect. 

Reference has already been made to Goodsir's view 
regarding the inclusion of histology as an essential 
part of the course of anatomical instruction. Regular 
microscopical demonstrations were given for the first 
time in the summer session of 1856, and a short 
account of the method of conducting these classes is 
furnished in a manuscript of Turner's. The teaching 
devolved mainlj^ upon him. Eighty students entered 
for the first course, which was so arranged that each 
had half an hour's instruction during the week, and 
was shown the structure of the primary tissues of the 
body, bone, muscle, nerve, &c. During subsequent 


sessions these demonstrations were still further elabor- 
ated. It must be borne in mind that, at that period, 
the methods of medical education were very different 
from what they are at the present day, and that, 
with the exception of botany, chemistry, and anatomy, 
amongst the scientific subjects, teaching was mainly 
by means of formal lectures, the subject deriving much 
of its interest from the descriptive powers of the 
lecturer and the force with which he threw his own 
personality into his work. The introduction, there- 
fore, in 1856, of microscopical demonstrations with the 
object of teaching large classes of men, was attended 
with difficulties, and implied a much greater effort on 
the part of the teacher than it does to-day, with 
the elaborate equipment now provided. Professor 
M'Kendrick has given a humorous description of one 
of these demonstrations : — 

In a narrow gallery, with only a roof light, there was a 
large oval bench or table with stools at the side accommodat- 
ing from twenty-live to thirty students, each of whom kept 
his place during the demonstration. On the bench there was 
a line of metal rails like a little railroad, continuous at each 
end, so as to form an oval, and on this rail there were twenty 
small platforms, like trucks or carriages, each bearing a 
microscope and a lamp. Turner presided at one end of the 
table, with a blackboard behind him. After a lucid and 
interesting description of some tissue or organ, the student 
examined the section under the microscope before him, and 
on a signal being given by Turner, each student pushed the 
truck along the rail to his neighbour on the right, and so 
on until all had seen the section under discussion. It was 
histology on wheels. 

At the close of the second winter session in April 
1856, Turner gave up the tutorial instruction which 
had previously been assigned to him. The members 
of his class regarded the occasion as a suitable one for 
e.xpressing their satisfaction with his methods of teach- 
ing. In thanking them for their presentation to him, 
he said : — 


I can assure you it is with feelings of no ordinary kind that 
I meet you here to-day for the purpose of receiving from you 
this very handsome token of your kindness, which fully justi- 
fies me, 1 hope, in considering that you are satisfied with my 
labours among you during the past session. But while I look 
upon this as to some extent a personal expression of good feel- 
ing towards myself, yet I must also regard it as an indication 
of your approbation of the mode of working the system, to the 
carrying out of which I have been but one of several instru- 
ments — a system, the merit of whose introduction in this 
medical school is due solely to Professor Goodsir. 

I have long been convinced of the great advantages to be 
derived from a judicious plan of tutorial instruction. In my 
own person, as a student, I experienced considerable assistance 
from a system similar in its nature to the one pursued here, 
although not carried out to so great an extent. I always 
look back with pleasure to that portion of my student career, 
for I feel that I then acquired information, w^hich has already 
frequently proved of service, and I doubt not will continue to 
be useful during my professional life. 

To ensure the success of any given method of instruction, 
it is not only necessary that the mode of pursuing it should 
be accurately laid down by professorial or other governing 
bodies, but it is also essential that it should obtain the cordial 
CO - operation of the student ; such co - operation you have 
throughout the winter session afforded, and by your conduct 
to-day you have put the seal of your approbation upon it. 

But much as I shall ever look with pride and satisfaction 
upon your presents to me, let me also look back with equal 
satisfaction to those daily expressions of your goodwill which 
you have displayed morning after morning as we met upstairs 
for the consideration of our stated subjects. The regularity 
with which you voluntarily appeared at the appointed hour, 
the attention that you paid to my remarks, and the ready and 
accurate manner in which you replied to the questions which 
I propounded to you, were to me a constant source of satisfac- 
tion, and they supplied me continually with fresh motives for 
renewed exertion ; for you may rely upon it that a teacher 
can receive no stronger stimulus than the assurance that what 
he says is attended to and understood by his class. Do not 
suppose that because I now bid you farewell as tutor I consider 
my obligations to you as discharged and at an end ; on tlie 
contrary, as long as we bear towards each other the relations 
of pupil and teacher, I shall endeavour to the utmost of my 
ability to forward your professional studies. 


No account of the Anatomical Department would 
l»u complete without reference to another personality, 
John Arthur, tlie Professor's janitor, who was a living 
piesence in the dissecting-rooms. He had been en- 
gaged by Monro tertius about the year 1830 as a 
class porter, and his usefulness in the rooms, his 
pt^rsuasive methods with the students, along with 
his ability of knowing how to do things and how to 
get them done, made him of undoubted importance. 
He continued in office with Goodsir. With his intelli- 
gence and shrewdness and his great skill in anatomical 
work, he also possessed some of the strong lines of 
character that marked his chief, for whom he had 
an intense admiration. Upon his death in 1860, he 
was succeeded by A. B. Stirling, who had been 
appointed four years earlier as assistant in the con- 
servatorship of the Anatomical Museum. Stirling, 
who became well known to many generations of 
students, was a man of very considerable scientific 
ability. He became Turner's right-hand man in the 
work of the Museum, and his death in 1881 deprived 
the Department of the services of one who had done 
much good work in it. 

During the thirteen years in which Turner held the 
appointment of Senior Demonstrator, changes occurred 
as a matter of course in the personnel of the staff. 
When Edwards turned his attention to surgery and 
Paul resigned his post in 1857, the vacancies were 
tilled by John Cleland and Henry S. Wilson. Cleland, 
who^ remaimed for four years with Goodsir, became 
Professor of Anatomy and Physiology in Queen's 
College, Galway, and later, Professor of Anatomy in 
the University of Glasgow. He and Turner formed 
and maintained a lifelong friendship with each other, 
based on mutual respect and a common desire to 
further the interests of the science which they studied 
aud taught. Cleland alone, of all the men upon the 
teaching staff in the fifties, is still with us, enjoying 


his well-earned rest in the seclusion of the Somerset 
hills. The late Sir William Mitchell Banks, a student 
in the dissecting-rooms in 1860, in a humorous letter 
written to Turner in 1903, con^ratdating him upon 
his election as Principal of the University, recalled his 
impressions of the anatomical staff at that period : — 

I can remember as vividly as possible the day I first saw 
you, in that terrible old dissecting-room at the top of the long 
stair. I see John Arthur, with white beard, and spectacles 
on nose, and a note-book and pencil in hand ; I see Stirling 
with his apron on, peering into a microscope ; Cleland is at a 
desk in a small room off the bone-room ; Wilson is warming 
his back at the fire and talking playful nonsense. You are 
taking names for "parts," in a blue serge blouse and with a 
black velvet cap on your head. I even see that astounding 
fiend, the porter, carrying a body on his back down to the 
lecture-room. And now you are Principal of the University 
of Edinburgh and covered with distinctions. 

Another letter, written on the same occasion to 
Turner by one of his friends, throws a side-light upon 
these early days : — 

NoTTiNG Hill, London, 
January 21, 1903. 

I was most agreeably surprised when I opened my ' Daily 
Graphic ' this morning to see you and to learn that you were 
now Principal of Edinburgh University. My heartiest con- 
gratulations on the recognition of your work and capabiHties. 

The event recalls old days, and beside me are my 1856 notes 
of Goodsir's Lectures on Comparative Anatomy, also the fair 
copy of yours, of Pearson's, and of my rough class notes com 
pared and re- written in your Drummond Place rooms, with 
' Latham's English Dictionary ' on your table — days I have 
never forgotten . . . Pearson has gone. How well I remember 
your advent in Edinburgh with Edwards, Bart's and King's. 

I have no cause to regret your verdict that I was too old 
for the Superintendency of the Royal Infirmary — I have 
obtained a more desirable appointment in London, and prefer 
the Metropolis with the British Museum. Then to you I owe 
the valuable experience I got from William Newman and his 
lifelong friendship. Alex. Turnbull. 


In the early sixties three other men joined the staff 
of Demonsti-ators as Turner's juniors, having first 
passed through his hands as members of the Anatom- 
ical Class. Ramsay H. Traquair, Joseph Bell, and 
Thomas Annandale, all of whom, after attaining high 
eminence in their respective spheres of work, joined 
the great majority before their senior colleague and 
friend had passed away. In the winter session of 
1866-67, Goodsir's last term of work, John Chiene 
became Junior Demonstrator. 

It is somewhat difficult, it might indeed be regarded 
as almost invidious, to select from the many hundreds 
of pupils who passed through Turner's hands during 
his time as demonstrator, certain names for special 
mention, when there were doubtless many who, in 
their own sphere, attained honourable positions in 
different parts of the world. 

Many also who unknown and unrecorded might say to their 
Ahna Mater, " Silver and gold have I none, but such as I have, 
o-ive I thee," and who have given to her the quiet memorials 
of a student's life — the example of patient and unobtrusive 
work, pursued often under difficulties, inspired by duty and 
lit up with courageous hope — who, bearing their new-lit 
torches, go forth into the darkness of the future, some of 
them destined to name and fame and success, but thousands 
of others who can never win their way to that light, but of 
whom now and again we catch some unexpected glimpse 
which reveals them at their task — it may be in some lonely 
parish of their own land, or it may be at some distant outpost 
of the Empire.^ 

Some, however, became his colleagues in the Medical 
Faculty and others his fellow -workers in the Edin- 
burirh School, and, with these and with others who 
became leaders m their respective branches of the 
profession, he formed an intimate friendship. He 
often alluded with a feeling of pride and pleasure to 
the fact that he had assisted in laying the founda- 
tion of their ultimate success. 

' Professor H. S. Butcher : Farewell Address. 


Of his future colleagues in the Medical Facult}" no 
fewer than nine had studied Anatomy under Goodsir 
during this period : Alexander Russell Simpson (Chair 
of Midwifery), Thomas Grainger Stewart (Medicine), 
and his successor John Wyllie, Thomas Annandale 
(Clinical Surgery), Alexander Dickson (Botany), Alex- 
ander Crum Brown (Chemistry), T. R. Eraser (Materia 
Medica), William Rutherford (Physiology), and John 
Chiene (Principles of Surgery). 

Amongst those who reached professorial positions 
in other schools, mention may be made of John Cleland 
and James Pettigrew, appointed to the Chairs of An- 
atomy in Glasgow and St Andrews ; J. Gray M'Ken- 
drick to the Chair of Physiology in Glasgow, and 
Arthur Gamgee and William Stirling in the Owens 
College, Manchester ; Alleyne Nicholson, Professor of 
Natural History in Aberdeen, and W. C. M'Intosh to 
the corresponding Chair in St Andrews ; William 
Mitchell Banks to the Chair of Surgery in Liverpool, 
and Kenneth Macleod, Professor of Anatomy and 
Surgery in the Calcutta Medical College. 

On the graduation roll are to be found the names of 
Sir Joseph Fayrer, Bt., of Sir James Crichton Browne, 
Sir John Batty Tuke, and Sir Thomas Clouston, the 
distinguished alienists, and Sir Dyce Duckworth, Sir 
David Ferrier, and Sir T. Lauder Brunton, who have 
made their mark as physicians in London. Robert 
Bannatyne Finlay (Lord Finlay of Nairn) althouo^h a 
graduate in Medicine in 1863, adopted Law as his 
profession, and, in 1916, attained the highest position 
as Lord Chancellor of England. 

Students who commenced the study of medicine 
prior to the adoption of the Ordinances which followed 
the passing of the Scottish Universities Act of 1858 
graduated as M.D., and, in addition to their examin- 
ation, were obliged to present a Thesis, which con- 
sequently was prepared while they were as yet 
\indergraduates. It is indeed remarkable to observe 
how, even at that early period in their medical career 
the theme chosen for the thesis furnished proof of the 


leaning which many of them had towards the subject 
in which they eventually specialised. Thus, Cleland, 
Pettigrew, and Gamgee wrote upon Anatomical and 
Physiological problems ; Batty Tuke upon Idiocy ; 
Clouston upon the Anatomy and Physiology of the 
Nervous System, and Crichton Browne on Hallucina- 
tions. Crum Brown wrote upon the Theory of 
Chemical Combination ; Alexander Dickson on the 
Development of the Flower ; T. R. Fraser on the 
properties of the Calabar Bean, and Lauder Brunton 
upon Digitalis, while Annandale's thesis described the 
Injuries of the Hip Joint. The title of the thesis 
presented for the higher degree of M.D. to-day 
frequently indicates the special branch of science or 
medicine which the candidate has selected for his 
life's work, but it has been written after two or 
more years of post-graduate study, when his thoughts 
have been directed along special lines. 

While Turner's duties as a teacher occupied the 
greater part of his time and attention, it was not to 
be expected that they would suffice to satisfy his 
vigorous intellect. His love of scientific pursuit, 
developed and encouraged in the early days of his 
apprenticeship, and still further revealed by his 
successes at St Bartholomew's, naturally led him to 
turn his mind to the consideration of various ana- 
tomical problems. 

Prior to 1857, no publication appeared from his 
pen, but in that year, his atlas and handbook on 
Human Anatomy and Phj'-siology, which was later 
translated into Arabic, was published. His research 
work was undoubtedly interfered with by his prepara- 
tion for the final M.B. examination at the University 
of London, which he passed in the summer of 1857. 
While thus engaged, he was a frequent visitor at the 
old Royal Infirmary, w^iere he saw Syme perform more 
than one of his classic operations. With the same 
object in view, he became a member of Matthews 


Duncan's class in the summer of that year and 
regularly attended his course of instruction. 

Having relieved his mind of the worry of an im- 
pending examination, Turner was at liberty to devote 
more time and energy to research, and, commencing in 
1859, he published a series of papers which laid the 
foundation of his reputation in the scientific world. 
It will suffice merely to record briefly at this point 
the lines along which he worked. Notwithstanding 
the "anatomical atmosphere" in which he lived, his 
old love of chemistry still maintained its hold upon 
him, and, as previously indicated, three additional 
papers on chemical subjects appeared from his pen 
after he had settled in Edinburgh. During this early 
period he made a number of contributions upon ana- 
tomical subjects ; he commenced his investigations 
upon the anatomy of the brain, and he directed his 
attention to a study of the cetacea and to craniolo- 
gical research in connection with his inquiries into the 
wide field of Anthropology, in which later on he was 
to become an outstanding authority. 

Turner's publications upon Pathological Anatomy, 
although of a more limited character, included the 
results of both microscopical and naked-eye investiga- 
tions, and they demonstrate the wide range of the 
subjects which he studied. The most important 
contribution to this branch of science was his work 
in connection with the re-editing of Sir James Paget's 
Lectures on Surgical Pathology, which were first pub- 
lished in 1853, and which became the standard treatise 
upon the subject, placing their author in the first rank 
of pathologists both at home and abroad. Paget was 
eminently qualified to write on the general pathology 
of surgical diseases, as he had made a long and close 
study of the very valuable collection made by John 
Hunter and bequeathed to the Museum of the Royal 
College of Surgeons of England. The methodical 
arrangement of the lectures, the abundant evidence 
of thought and care in their composition, and the 



literary quality of their style placed them amongst 
the classics in medicine. Notwithstanding the many 
changes wliich have taken place in pathological con- 
ception, due to advances in research and the conse- 
quent addition to our knowledge, Paget's Lectures 
might still be read with advantage and profit. 

Virchow's classical work upon ' Cellular Pathology,' 
developing and expounding the doctrine " omnis cellula 
e celluld " as the basis of pathological structure, which 
had appeared in 1858, led Paget to consider the neces- 
sity of a thorough revision of his book. Owing to a 
steady increase in his surgical practice, he was com- 
pelled to seek assistance in his task. For this pur- 
pose he applied to his old pupil, William Turner, to 
whom he wrote as follows : — 

I shall have great pleasure in communicating your paper 
to the Medico-Chirurgical Society, and I think it should be 
published. The arbiters of publication may think it too 
entirely pathological ; for some think (but I disagree with 
them) that papers of this class should go to a specially 
pathological Society. I have to thank you for your essay 
on the cases of Thoracic Aneurism, and for your suggestions 
respecting m}'^ case of cartilaginous growth, which appear very 
probable ones. 

Would it be agreeable to you to take part in both work 
and pay in the preparation of a new edition of my Lectures 
on Surgical Pathology ? It should be ready by October 1860 
at the latest, and we would take, if you like, equal shares of 
the profits, and, as nearly as might be, of the work too. If 
you can and will entertain this proposal, I shall write you 
more fully and say what part of the work I wish to be 
relieved of ; but, if you have no time or mind for it, I need 
only beg you not to hesitate to say so. 

Turner accepted the proposal of his old master, 
and applied himself to the work of revision with 
the thoroughness characteristic of him. From the 
correspondence that passed between the two men, 
it is evident that most of the minute pathological 
work w^as placed in Turner's hands. His desire to 
assist Paget was probably strengthened by his as- 


sociatlon with Goodsir : doubtless they talked the 
matter carefully over, and Goodsir's valuable material 
vv^ould be placed at the disposal of his assistant. 

The work of revision was a slow process, owing 
to the new pathological data, the extensive literature 
in different languages which had to be carefully read 
and sifted, and the fresh material which had to be 
prepared and tested. It was not until the summer 
of 1863, that the second edition was ready. In one 
of his letters to Paget, Turner states that he had 
given up coaching in order to devote his evenings 

to the work. 

3 South Frederick Street, 
October 2Zrd, 1861. 

I received your note this morning. 

I have collected a quantity of material for the new edition 
of the first volume of the Lectures, but it is as yet in the 
rough state, and will require a good deal of trimming and 
arranging before it can be incorporated with the old text. 
The second volume I have done very little to, and I am in 
much doubt respecting it. 

You may remember you told me that it would be advisable 
to go over all the statistical part bearing on the mortality 
after operation for cancer, period of life, those most subject 
to it, &c., with the aid of notes of cases which you have in 
your possession, and which throw a somewhat ditierent light 
upon some of your former conclusions. 

I hope to finish in the course of next week the anatomical 
papers at which I am working, and as I do not intend to take 
any private pupils, I can devote my evenings to the work. 

I shall endeavour to send you early in December the first 
two or three lectures with the additions and emendations I 
would suggest. William Turner. 

In the month of August 1915, the summer preced- 
ing his death, Turner spent his holiday in Nortli 
Wales. During an excursion made by motor - car 
over the Llanberis Pass, he was reminiscent of a 
previous holiday spent in the district fifty - five 
years before. The traveller in North Wales may 
recall on the descent from Snowdon, as he passes 
downwards to Capel Curig, the lonely inn of Peny 


Owryd, standi ng beneath the frowning peaks of 
Glyder Fawr and Glyder Fach, so well described by 
Charles Kingsley in ' Two Years Ago.' The inn, the 
only dwelhng-house in Peny Gwryd, Is at an eleva- 
tion of nearly a thousand feet, at the junction of the 
roads leading to Capel Ourig, Beddgelert, and the 
summit of the Llanberis Pass. Here, in the summer 
of 1860, Turner spent the greater part of the month 
of August with his aunts, his main object being to 
master the contents of Virchow's ' Cellular Pathology,' 
a volume of over four hundred pages. He was also able 
to enjoy his favourite recreation of walking and climb- 
ing, and, at the same time, to accomplish the task 
which he had set himself to do. What more restful 
spot could he have chosen for the unravelling of the 
intricate phrasing of the German language, and for 
elucidating the scientific problems of the cell doctrine 
of disease ? 

Early in 1863, when Paget's book was in the press, 
Turner delivered a lecture at the Royal College of 
Surgeons of Edinburgh, upon " The Present Aspect 
of the Doctrine of Cellular Pathology." It was a 
masterly exposition of the whole subject, and it 
throws much light upon the labour which he had 
expended in carrying through the revision entrusted 
to him, and upon the wide grasp of the subject which 
he had acquired. The knowledge thus gained proved 
of great value to him later in life in the preparation 
of his address on " The Cell Theory," which he de- 
livered, in 1889, as President of the Scottish Micro- 
scopical Society, and again in his Presidential Address 
to the British Association at Bradford in 1900. 

The second edition, like the first, was a great 
success, and was entirely disposed of by the summer 
of 1867, when a third edition was called for. Turner 
again undertook the work of revision, and the book 
appeared in 1870. When this also was exhausted, a 
reprint of a thousand copies was issued, in order to 
meet the continued demand for it. In October 1896, 


Paget wrote to Turner : " I enclose Messrs Longman's 
account of the last year's sale of our Lectures on 
Surgical Pathology and a cheque, which may tell 
that the sale has nearly reached the vanishing point. 
It might be amusing to know who could have wanted 
to buy a book on Pathology nearly fifty years old." 

In conjunction with Professor George Murray 
Humphry of Cambridge, Turner took a very active 
part at this time in founding the 'Journal of Anatomy 
and Physiology,' the first number of which was pub- 
lished in November 1866. Prior to this date no 
journal specially devoted to these subjects had 
appeared in this country, although the * Natural 
History Review ' had been a channel through which 
a number of papers upon human and comparative 
anatomy had been made public. As that journal, 
however, ceased to exist in 1866, it was felt by some 
of the younger anatomists that, with the increasing 
number of workers in this field of science, a means 
should be provided for the publication of original 
papers and for reports upon the progress of the two 
sciences. Anatomy and Physiology were to be re- 
garded in the widest sense as comprehending not 
only human and comparative anatomy and physiology, 
but much of Zoology and Palreontology, without ex- 
cluding even Psychology and Pathology. At the 
meeting of the British Association in Nottingham in 
1866, the arrangements for the production of the 
Journal were finally completed. A considerable cor- 
respondence upon the subject had passed between 
Turner and Humphry, and the latter's views as to its 
scope are contained in the following letter : — 

Cambridge, March 26, 1866. 

My dear Mr Tltiner, — Thank you for your prompt note, 
with its congratulations and full information. A feeling of 
the need of such a journal as we are contemplatintj seems to 
be prevalent, and to be felt in Dublin, as well as in Edinburgh 
and Cambridge, for Dublin is contemplating a similar thing 


and seems disposed to join us. I expect to see Professor 
Wri<;ht aliout it in town on Thursday, and I quite agree with 
youlhat the best plan would be to pull together; and if you 
are disposed to join too, and unite in a Cambridge, Edinburgh, 
and Dublin journal, I think the thing might answer very well, 
and a thoroughly good journal ought to be the result, giving 
the produce of English, Scotch, and Irish Anatomy, with contri- 
l)utions from other sources, reviews, &c., such as you suggest. 

Perhaps it might appear three times a year, once a year 
from each place, the editor in each town being responsible for 
the number issuing from it. Our idea was to have it printed 
at our Pitt (i.e., University) Press with Macmillan as publisher. 
He is a Scotsman, has a London as well as a Cambridge place 
of business, with Scotch alliances; although the numbers 
might issue from the three places in turn, yet each number 
might contain contributions, to some extent, from the three 
places collectively. This plan would be attended with some 
disadvantages and difficulties, but would have the advantage 
of some little rivalry in the three places, and of the co-opera- 
tion of the three divisions of the country. 

We have already several promises of support in England, 
and our project has been well received. 

Perhaps some other better plan may occur to you. I like 
the notion of a combination, if it can be effected, agreeing 
with you that two journals, still less three, would not succeed 
well, and that it would be far better to produce one good 

We had not contemplated Pathology as a subject, but have 
no objections to it, provided somewhat more range be given 
to Zoology and Geographical Distribution, for which there 
would be ample space in three numbers annually. I don't 
think Newton would assent unless this were so. 

With regard to funds, we are quite willing to contribute our 
share of them, and to bear our share of the loss, supposing 
there be any, which, if the Universities combined and the thing 
worked well, might not occur. G. M. Hu.mphry. 

The Journal was at first published as a half-yearly 
volume. Humphry and Turner being assisted in their 
early ettbrts to make it a success by Professors Newton 
of Cambridge and Perceval Wright of Dublin, with 
Mr J. W. Clark of Cambridge as editor. Throughout 
the first ten years of its life Turner contributed to 
each number a resume of all the anatomical work 


which appeared in other countries, thus illustrating 
that he kept himself abreast with Continental litera- 
ture ; in 1874, Dr D. J. Cunningham assisted him in 
the preparation of the analysis, but this useful feature 
of the Journal was finally discontinued two years later. 
During the fifty years which have passed since its 
foundation, many changes have taken place in the 
personnel of the staff conducting its affairs, in the size 
of the volume, and in the frequency of its publication. 
In 1872, Humphry was anxious to encourage the 
physiological side, and wrote to Turner on the matter, 

Cambridge, May 28, 1872. 

I have just passed for press the last sheet of the Journal, 
and hope you will soon have the number. There has been 
no unnecessary delay here. 

It has occurred to me that it would be a good thing to 
strencrthen the physiological element by associating a physi- 
ologist with ourselves in the conduct of the Journal, and that 
Dr Michael Foster would be a good man for this purpose. 
He is a very able person, is Prelector of Physiology in Trinity 
College, and devotes and intends to devote his time exclusively 
to the working and teaching of the subject, is almost always 
in the Physiological laboratory, is well known in this country 
and on the Continent, and is a good deal interested in the 
Journal and anxious about its success. 

He has often talked to me about it, and I know he thinks 
the issue should be more frequent, which no doubt would be 
better, and there might then be a division of the reports. I 
am pretty sure he would be willing to join us, and he is a 
good person to associate with in such work. Residing here, 
he would be a reHef to me, which I should be very glad of. 
Let me know what you think of this. G. M. Humphry. 

Professor Michael Foster of Cambridge and Professor 
William Rutherford of Edinburgh were then added 
as editors in Physiology. When a journal specially 
devoted to that subject was published a few years 
later in this country, Foster and Rutherford resigned 
and Professor M'Kendrick of Glasgow took their 
place. At a still later period in the history of the 
Journal, the chief work of management devolved first 


upon Professor D. J. Cunningham and afterwards 
upon Professor Alexander Macalister of Cambridge. 

In October 1916, a few months after Turner's death, 
its original title was changed, and it became the 
* Journal of Anatomy,' its management and ownership 
passing into the hands of the Anatomical Society of 
Great Britain and Ireland. An arrangement along 
such lines had been in Turner's mind for a number 
of years, and he had indeed made the suggestion to 
Professor Thane at the time of Humphry's death in 

The Journal undoubtedly established itself as a 
recognised medium for the publication of original 
work, and fully justified the expectations of its 
founders and conductors. Had Turner lived a few 
months longer he would have had the satisfaction 
of seeing the completion of the jubilee volume. He 
himself contributed very frequently to its pages, and 
although in his later years others were responsible for 
the editorial work, he retained to the last his interest 
in it, and every sheet of each issue passed through 
his hands before going to press. Some of the sheets, 
indeed, for the forthcoming number were lying at his 
bedside a few days before his death. 

The Anatomical Society was really an offshoot of 
the Journal, and was intimately associated with it. 
The Society was founded in May 1887, Turner and 
Humphry again taking an active part in its inception, 
along with the co-operation of G. D. Thane, C. B. 
Lockwood, John Curnow, and John Bland Sutton. 
Humphry became the first president, Turner succeed- 
ing him in the president's chair in 1892. On the 
death of Humphry, Turner bore testimony to the great 
ability of his colleague. In all his relations with him, 
he had experienced invariable kindness and courtesy ; 
he had valued his friendship and appreciated his 
society, and he had benefited by the clearness of his 
thought and expression, and by the sound judgment 
whicli he brought to bear upon many subjects. 



Universities (Scotland) Act, 1858 — Holidays in Germany and Swit- 
zerland — Early days of the Volunteer movement — Question of 
Turner leaving Edinburgh — His marriage — Deatli of Goodsir. 

It is necessary at this point in our narrative to refer 
to the great changes which were brought about both 
in the constitution and in the administration of the 
affairs of the University by the introduction of the 
Universities (Scotland) Act of 1858. It constituted 
their " Magna Charta." The University of Edinburgh 
occupied a unique position amongst them, in that the 
conduct of her affairs and even the regulation of her 
discipline and of her system of graduation had been 
for the most part in the hands of the Town Council, 
who, under the charter granted in 1582 by King James 
VI. of Scotland, had been made her patrons. The 
Senatiis Academicus, unlike that of St Andrews, 
Glasgow, and Aberdeen, possessed little power in the 
management of the University. History records not 
only the many quarrels and acrimonious discussions 
which took place from time to time between the 
Professoriate and the members of the Municipal Cor- 
poration, but it brings to light the fact that the Town 
Council sometimes made wise and judicious changes in 
University administration. It had been felt, however, 
for a long time that the best interests of University 
education demanded a radical change in constitutional 


o^overnment. After more than one attempt to bring 
this about, the Bill of 1858 was brought before the 
House of Commons on April 22nd, and was carried 
through by Mr John Inglis, the Lord Advocate in 
the Conservative Government of the day, and after- 
wards Lord Justice General and Chancellor of the 
University. While the Bill was before the House, 
the interests of the University were keenly supported 
by Christison and Hughes Bennett, both of whom 
did yeoman service on her behalf. The Bill became 
law upon August 2nd. 

Turner, as a young demonstrator, must have been 
an interested onlooker, following the discussions and 
watching with close attention the contest between 
the University authorities and the Corporation of 
the City, while the Bill was under consideration in 
the House of Commons. When, in after years, he 
himself attained the highest administrative position 
in the University and in the General Medical Council, 
he no doubt found that the experience which he had 
gained by a personal study of what actually took 
place in 1858, was of great value when medical educa- 
tion and improvements in University administration 
became matters of the greatest importance to him. 

To the University of Edinburgh, in particular, the 
passing of the Act was of vital importance, as it gave 
to her Principal and Professors for the first time the 
authority to discharge all the functions pertaining to 
the Senatus Academicus. The constitutional changes 
which the Act enforced were — 

1. The formation of the General Council of the 

University, and, paH passu with this, the 
election of a Chancellor. 

2. The election of a Rector. 

3. The formation of the University Court. 

4. The establishment of the Board of Curators 

of Patronaofe. 

At the same time, amongst other matters, the Act 


prescribed the appointment of a Commission to carry 
out the views of the Act and to frame Ordinances for 
the regulation of the revenues, studies, and degree 
systems, and all other important points in the working 
of the Scottish Universities. Mr John Inglis, who 
was now the Lord Justice Clerk, was elected the 
permanent Chairman of the Commissioners, and he 
continued in office until 1862; the Ordinances result- 
ing from their deliberations must be regarded as 
especially the product of the sound judgment and 
untiring devotion of the chairman. 

The General Council of the University met in the 
Music Hall, George Street, in October 1859, and was 
presided over by Sir David Brewster, who had just 
been elected Principal by the Town Council, on the 
death of Lee. The General Council, at its inception, 
numbered 1862 members. The function of the Council 
was to consider all questions affecting the wellbeing 
and prosperity of the University, and to make repre- 
sentations on such questions to the University Court. 
Its duty upon this occasion was the election of a 
Chancellor, Lord Brougham having been proposed by 
the Whigs. His Grace the Duke of Buccleuch was 
put forward as the opposition candidate by the Tories. 
The voting resulted in the election of Lord Brougham 
as first Chancellor of the University. 

In the followinir month the students exercised the 
privilege of electing for the first time a Rector. The 
candidates were William Ewart Gladstone and Lord 
Neaves, one of tlie judges of the Court of Session. 
The number of students who voted were 1170, of 
whom 643 gave their votes to Mr Gladstone and 
527 to Lord Neaves. Mr Gladstone thus became the 
first Rector of the University of Edinburgh. 

The formation of the University Court soon followed, 
its function being to revise, on appeal, the acts of the 
Senatus Academicus, to sanction the expenditure 
suggested by that body, and generally to supervise 
the Professorial staff. The original Court, seven in 


number, consisted of the Rector, Mr Gladstone, who 
appointed as his assessor Dr John Brown ; the Chan- 
cellor, Lord Brougham, who made Sir John Melville 
his assessor ; Sir David Brewster, the Principal ; the 
Lord Provost, Mr Francis Brown Douglas ; Bailie 
Grieve, the Town Council's nominee ; while the 
General Council of the University was represented 
by Mr Edward Maitland, the Solicitor-General (after- 
wards Lord Barcaple), and the Senatus Academicus 
by Professor Christison. 

Finally, towards the close of the year 1859, the 
Curators of Patronage were elected, four being 
appointed by the Town Council and three by the 
University Court. The Corporation, therefore, con- 
tinued to take some part in the administration of 
University affairs, and, although in a minority upon 
the Court, they obtained four out of the seven repre- 
sentatives upon the Board of Patronage. 

Sir Robert Christison has given us in his Life a brief 
account of the first meeting of the University Court., 
the object of which was to elect three representatives 
upon the Court of Curators. Some difficulty arose as 
to the interpretation of the meaning of the Act in 
regard to the choice of representatives. Was the 
Court to select them from their own members, or were 
they to be chosen from outside the Court ? Five of 
the members expressed the opinion that they should 
be selected from outside their own body, but Bailie 
Grieve dissented from this. Mr Gladstone, who, as 
Rector, occupied the chair, diplomatically suggested 
that the Court might go outside their body for one 
or more, but might correctly also appoint one or more 
from amongst themselves. This became the finding of 
the Court, two members being selected from themselves 
— namely, Mr Gladstone and the Solicitor-General, 
while Mr Mure, the Conservative ex-Lord Advocate, 
was nominated from outside. 


During the early years of his life in Edinburgh, 
Turner paid more than one visit to Germany. On 
the first occasion, in August 1856, he crossed from 
Leith to Hamburg in the steamship Dunedin. After 
spending a few days in that city, he proceeded to 
Hanover and thence to Gottingen, where he spent 
some days with an English friend. 

His second visit in the summer vacation of 1858 
led to a more extended tour, which he made with his 
friend Mr Eastlake. The primary object of his 
journey, on this occasion, was to hand over to Pro- 
fessor Du Bois Beymond of Berlin a fine specimen 
of the African electrical fish as a gift from Mr 
Goodsir. His experiences are recorded in a series of 
letters to his mother, which once more illustrate the 
pains which he took in keeping her acquainted with 
his movements. 

Edinburgh, June 1858. 

During the last few days I have been in very great doubt 
as to where I may go to in Germany and when I may start. 
Yesterday, however, matters assumed something more of a 
definite aspect. A few days ago, a specimen of the African 
electrical fish arrived here. Mr Goodsir had intended to have 
taken it himself to Berlin to a celebrated scientific man there 
to experiment with, but it unfortunately happens that he is 
prevented by private business from leaving Scotland for some 

Being anxious that the Berlin Professor should not lose 
the fish, and being afraid of sending it by the steamer 
without having some one in charge, he has asked me if I 
would have any objections to take it to Berlin. Although 
tiiis will upset all my former plans of seeing the south of 
Germany and the Tyi'ol, I did not see very well how I could 
refuse, so yesterday I consented to take it. I shall sail from 
Leith to Hamburg, and thence by rail to Berlin. 

His journey in company with his " strange com- 
panion " is thus described : — 

Berlin, Augitst 6th. 

You will see from my address that I have reached Berlin. 
I left Leith on Saturday afternoon, and everything looked 


promising for a favourable voyage, and we sailed down the 
Firth in great spirits. On getting up, however, on Sunday 
morning, *we found the ship rolling about in a most un- 
pleasant manner. Not that there was any wind blowing, 
hut there was a great swell on the ocean, and I, for the 
first time, experienced all the pangs of sea-sickness. On 
Monday morning the sea was much quieter, and we en- 
joyed the fresh breezes. 

We reached the island of Heligoland about 2 p.m., the 
Captain taking the ship close to it in order to give us a 
good opportunity of seeing it. About 5 P.M. we reached 
the mouth of the Elbe, and after sailing up the river for 
about three hours, we were obliged to drop anchor, as there 
was not sufficient water to enable us to get over the bar. 
The next morning, however, we proceeded with the flowing 
tide, and reached Hamburg about 10 a.m. 

Mr Robert Chambers of Edinburgh, with his two eldest 
unmarried daughters, crossed in the steamer with us. The 
electrical fish bore the passage better than all the other 
passengers, for I had fastened the basket containing the 
glass jar in which he swims to a beam stretching across the 
roof of the cabin, and he swung about most pleasantly. On 
inspecting him when we got on shore he appeared very 

This morning we started at half -past seven by rail to 
Berlin. The journey was a long one, as we did not arrive 
there until 4 p.m. The country through which we passed 
was very uninteresting, for many miles a sandy desert, 
nothing grown upon it but stunted grass and scattered 
tufts. Here and there, however, where water had collected, 
the herbage was greener and more vigorous. 

August Qth. — This morning I went to the University to 
convey my fish to Professor Du Bois Re3''mond. He was 
very glad to see me. He introduced me to some other 
gentlemen there, and we went round the Museum together. 
Write without fail, as I should not like to leave Berlin 
without hearing from you. 

Turner used to enjoy telling the story of his ex- 
periences with the custom-house officials at Hamburg 
on this occasion. He assured them that he had really 
nothing to declare, but the appearance of the basket, 
containing the glass jar, excited suspicion and roused 
a natural curiosity. Turner informed the officer that 


it contained only a fish, and courteously advised him 
against any examination of the contents. Being a 
determined man, however, he decided upon settling 
the question to his own satisfaction. He accordingly 
raised the lid of the jar and inserted his hand — and 
there was no further trouble with the custom-house 
officers ! 

The incident with the electrical fish gave Turner 
his introduction to Du Bois Reymond, and for many 
years the two men corresponded with each other on 
matters of mutual scientific interest. At the Inter- 
national Congress of Medicine, held in Berlin in 1890, 
Turner was chosen as the spokesman of the Anatomi- 
cal and Physiological sections to propose the toast of 
the veteran Physiologist at the dinner at which the 
latter presided. In continuation of his tour Turner 
writes two further letters which give an account of his 
journey : — 

I have enjoyed very much my stay in Berlin. Eastlake 
knew some very nice people here, and we have been pecul- 
iarly fortunate in many respects. We have visited several 
times at the house of Dr Horn, Director of the large Hospital, 
and have been treated with the greatest kindness. We spent 
a day at Potsdam, about fifteen miles from Berlin, a town 
almost built of palaces and royal residences. We had ob- 
tained an introduction to the King's architect, and by this 
means we drove about in one of the Royal carriages, seeing 
the various objects of interest. Our Queen is now at Potsdam 
visiting her daughter, who is said by the good people here to 
be about to present the Prussians with an heir to the Crown.^ 

I shall carry away with me very favourable impressions of 

Berlin. We propose leaving to-morrow for Leipzig, where we 

shall spend the night, and then start the following morning 

for Dresden. We then propose walking through the Saxon 

Switzerland — three days' walk to Prague, where we remain 

for a time. 


I left Prague and reached Dresden the same evening. The 
next morning I left for Niirnberg ; this was a long journey, 

1 Ex-Kaiser Wilhelm II., born January 27tli, 1859. 


for we started at ten in the morning of Tuesday, and did not 
reach Niirnberg until eight o'clock the following morning, 
being, with the exception of a slight interval, on the move 
all the time. 

Niirnberg is one of the most peculiar cities in Europe. 
Many hundred years ago it was a very wealthy and im- 
portant town, and the citizens spent large sums of money 
on the decoration of their houses, churches, and other public 
buildings. Most of these are preserved in the original style, 
so that as one walks through the streets, one might almost 
fancy that we were transported back some hundreds of years 
were it not that the modern costume of the people reminded 
us that we are in the nineteenth century. 

The next day we left Niirnberg for Wiirzburg, a small 
University town of Bavaria. We remained here two nights, 
and then went by way of Frankfort to Heidelberg. Here we 
have taken lodgings, and propose remaining for a few days 
and then pass quietly down the Rhine, so as to leave Rotterdam 
en route for London. 

In September of 1860, he again took a holiday on 
the Continent in company with his friend Mr Thomas 
Smith of St Bartholomew's. After sailing from Lon- 
don to Ostend, they travelled through Belgium and 
Luxembourg, visiting Treves, thence by steamboat 
down the Moselle to Coblentz. After spending two 
or three days at Wiesbaden, they passed through 
Frankfort and Heidelberg, and finally reached Frei- 
burg in Baden, from which town they set out upon a 
walking tour. Some idea of the trip may be gleaned 
from two letters which he sent to his mother : — 

SPLtJGEN, September 11, 1860. 
My last letter was written to you a week ago from Leuz- 
kirch in Baden. In continuation I may state that we left 
Leuzkirch and walked to Schatfhausen, where there is a 
magnificent waterfall, the river Rhine falling a considerable 
distance over rocks. From the hotel we had a very fine view 
of the Falls. The next morning we left by rail for Ziirich, 
spent several hours there, and then sailed up the lake by 
steamer as far as Rapperswyl, a small town at the upper 
end of the lake. The next morning we again took train and 
went for some miles through a splendid country to Ragatz. 


This brings me to Saturday morning. We spent the remain- 
ing part of Saturday and the whole of Sunday at Ragatz, a 
most beautifully-situated place, in a valley with mountains 
rising on each side to the height of 8000 feet, their summits 
being covered with snow. 

Three miles from Ragatz is a very celebrated bathing- 
place, Pfeffers, situated in a gorge in the mountains, in the 
midst of which a hot spring wells up, producing a constant 
and abundant supply of water. During the summer hun- 
dreds of strangers frequent these baths. I thought I would 
try the effect of one, and on Saturday evening ordered one 
in the hotel. It was extremely pleasant, the water being at 
its natural temperature. 

On Monday morning we left Ragatz by rail for Chur, and 
from there started on foot through the valley of the Upper 
Rhine to Thusis. This valley well repaid us for our walk. 
We passed on our way Reichenau, a small village in which 
Louis Philippe, during his early days, played the part of a 
schoolmaster. The country on each side abounds in ruins 
of castles, perched on almost inaccessible eminences. As one 
looks at them, one wonders how their owners got in and out 
of them. This morning we left Thusis and walked for about 
eighteen miles to Spliigen, through one of the most splendid 
of the Alpine passes, the Spliigen Pass. The ascent is a very 
gradual one, and the summit, which we have not yet quite 
reached, is 8000 feet. The road in places passes through 
enormous ravines, and is then conducted by substantial 
bridges over the river which flows some hundred feet below. 
It is one of the most celebrated roads in Switzerland, partly 
from its height and partly from the difficulties that had to 
be surmounted in constructing it. The Swiss at the present 
day are not, however, satisfied with it, and they are actually 
surveying the district for the purpose of making a railroad. 
In the morning we pi'opose starting early and going by 
omnibus across the pass into Italy, where we spend a few 
days. It is our intention to see Lakes Conio and Maggiore, 
and then to return by the St Gothard Pass into Switzerland. 

Zermatt, Septemhei- 23, 1860. 

My last letter was written to you from the inn at Spliigen, 
as I was about to enter Italy. We started the next morning 
by diligence at 3.30 a.m., and after a two hours' ascent 
reached the top of the pass, about 8000 feet high, just as the 
morning was breaking. For the next few hours our journey 



was down one of the most beautiful roads I have travelled 
on. In some places the rocks have had to be tunnelled 
through for many yards, in others great arches have been 
constructed in order to prevent the avalanches of snow 
which fall so frequently in the early summer from carrying 
tlie road away. In other places it was carried by zigzags 
down the face of lofty precipices. As we gradually de- 
scended, we left behind us the cold Alpine summits and 
snowy peaks, and came into a land of chestnuts, walnuts, 
vines, and rich fruits of all kinds. 

Italy now lay before us in all its glory, with a hot sun, 
blue sky, and picturesque costumes. We halted for an hour 
at the town of Chiavenna, and then took the diligence to 
Colico, a small town on the shore of the upper end of Lake 
Como. Here we took the steamer, and had a pleasant sail 
of about two hours down the lake to Bellagio, where we 
spent the night. 

Como is one of the most beautiful lakes in the world, lying 
in the bosom of a very fertile valley, with numerous pretty 
towns on its banks, and with scores of handsome residences 
of royal personages ; and it is, I believe, the special ambition 
of most of the great singers of the Italian Opera House to 
retire upon their earnings to a villa on the banks of that 

The next afternoon we left Bellagio and walked about ten 
miles to another lake called Lugano. Here we took a boat 
down the lake to the town of the same name, and next day, 
along with three young Englishmen whom we met at the 
hotel, we had a carriage and drove to Lake Maggiore. This 
is the largest of the Italian lakes, and is specially celebrated 
for the beauty and magnificence of its scenery. 

Baveno, to which we sailed, reminds me somewhat of 
Windermere, only that the proportions both of the lake and 
of the surrounding mountains are much greater. At this 
place it expands into a beautiful bay, with several islands 
lying in it. The islands are much frequented by visitors, 
for, owing to the excessive mildness of their climate, trees 
and plants grow in the open air which cannot be well cul- 
tivated on the mainland. Oranges, lemons, citrons, the tea 
plant, camphor-tree, and many others flourish there in great 

Ill the spring of 1859, the Volunteer movement was 
initiated with the object of raising a citizen army 


for the voluntary defence of the country against the 
threat of invasion. The response to the call exceeded 
all expectations, and a force numbering over 200,000 
men was raised in a very short time. Foremost 
amongst those who took up tlie matter in a practical 
way were the students of the University of Edin- 
burgh, who selected as their leader their senior pro- 
fessor, Sir Robert Christ ison. Under his guidance 
the University Company, No. 4 of the Queen's Edin- 
burgh Brigade, was raised, numbering at first ninety 
men, originally under the command of Mr Allan 
Dalziel, M.B., as captain, with Turner as ensign 
lieutenant. The Company paraded, with the rest of 
the Scottish Volunteer Force, in the famous Review 
held by Her Majesty Queen Victoria in the Queen's 
Park, Edinburgh, in 1860. 

In 1861, Christison took over the command of the 
company himself, and at the same time Turner was 
gazetted lieutenant. In a letter ^ to his son Alexander, 
Christison thus describes No. 4 Company : — 

I have a capital lieutenant and most excellent young friend 
in Mr Turner, our Demonstrator of Anatomy. My ensign has 
served as drill-sergeant and made a professional almost un- 
necessary. My main reason for accepting the office was that 
the Company consisted of a set of remarkably good young 
fellows, zealous as students and zealous as riflemen, that they 
both deserved and required a professor at their head to keep 
them on a good footing in the battalion, all of whose captains 
are men of position in Edinburgh, and that there was no 
other professor who could have accepted the charge. The 
University lads are extremely well behaved and well drilled ; 
many of them are capital shots, half a dozen of them first- 
rate ; and they are a fine-looking set, both individuall}' and 
as a body. Dr Duncan's eldest son (John Duncan), now my 
covering-sergeant, I call the " Premier Grenadier de I'Arm^e " : 
he is a very handsome fellow of six feet and half an inch, 
probably the first athlete in the battalion, a first-rate shot, 
and as good a man and student as he is a volunteer. If I 
am not mistaken, you will hear of him making a figure in 
the course of time in the Edinburgh School of Medicine. 

' Life of Sir Robert C'liristisoii, by his Sons. 


Christison assumed the command of the Company 
at the age of sixty-four, and he retained it until he 
was seventy-seven. On the occasion of his professorial 
jubilee in 1872, he was presented with a sword, the 
gift of present and past members of No. 4 Company. 
As lieutenant, Turner made the presentation, the men 
being drawn up in the University Quadrangle. In 
his speech, Turner said : — 

To your ever-ready sympathy and attention to its interests, 
the Company is in no small degree indebted for the prosperity 
which it enjoys and for the position which it holds as one of 
the largest and most efficient in the Queen's Edinburgh Rifle 
Volunteer Brigade. But, sir, we would wish to express more 
than a sense of our indebtedness for the prosperity of the 
Company ; as individual members we would venture to offer 
an expression of the high regard we entertain towards you 
personally, and of our esteem for your character as a man 
of honour and a true gentleman. You have been to us an 
example of how, by attention to training and exercise, sound- 
ness of the body conduces to the preservation of mental vigour, 
and that, if we wish to keep the brain clear for active thought, 
our physical health must not be unattended to, and though 
this day the University celebrates your jubilee as professor, 
j'^et, if danger menaced our shores, we are sure that, with 
honour bright and untarnished as the blade of this steel, the 
throne and the country would find no more gallant and 
devoted defender than Captain Sir Robert Christison. 

Two of Sir Robert's gi-enadiers of the sixties are 
still with us : Lord Guthrie and Sir J. Halliday 
Croom. The former thus recalls some reminiscences 
of that period : — 

In the University Volunteer Corps, in which I was a 
private, Mr Turner was lieutenant. The great success of the 
Company in numbers and efficiency was chiefly due to that 
thoroughness, down to the minutest details, and that capacity 
for leadership which characterised his whole life-work in so 
many varied spheres of activity. 

We were all proud of our Captain, Sir Robert, and of his 
fame and his stately and soldierly figure, and of his enthusi- 
astic interest in the Company. To make sure that we did not 


miss our shooting drills in the Hunters' Bog, he would even 
drive us down in his carriage to the Queen's Park. But he 
never mastered his drill as his lieutenant did. 

On one occasion we were drilling in the open, under the 
public eye. The two front-rank men were Halliday Crooui 
and my.self, put there, not I fear from our knowledge of the 
drill, but from our height. Yet we knew more than our 
captain ! Sir Robert gave us the order, " Right wheel," but, 
alas, he proceeded to execute " Left wheel " on his own account. 
What were we to do ? Obey the captain's order, or follow 
the captain ? The situation was only saved and public con- 
tempt avoided by the prompt and tactful intervention of his 

On another occasion when we were shooting under Lieu- 
tenant Turner's command, a member of the corps missed the 
target by a few hundred yards and shot a sheep on an 
adjoining eminence. We did not shirk the necessary compen- 
sation ; but the medical students present, with Mr Turner's 
permission, ascertained that the animal had been shot clean 
through the heart. You may imagine the congratulations 
showered upon the unfortunate marksman for the deadly 
accuracy of his aim and the prophecies of his future fame 
at the shooting butts at Aldershot ! 

But it was not only sheep that were in danger on such 
occasions : these were the primitive days of ramrods, with the 
consequent risk to the adjoining lieges of leaving a ramrod 
in a gun. I was recently told by a fellow-volunteer in the 
University Corps that Sir William Turner's whole career, so 
distinguished as Professor and as Principal, was entirely due 
to him ! I must have looked incredulous, for my old college 
friend added, " Don't you remember that day at the Hunters' 
Bog when I forgot to take out my ramrod, and it just missed 
Lieutenant Turner's head by a miracle ? " 

The memory of his efficiency is a very vivid one. But 
equally strong is the recollection of his geniality, his infinite 
patience, and his kindly consideration. 

On Christison's retirement in 1876, Turner obtained 
his captaincy, and for twelve years he commanded 
the Company, being promoted major in 1881, and 
receiving the honorary rank of lieutenant-colonel in 
1889. He resigned in 1890, after thirty-one years of 
service, decorated with the long-service V.D. medal. 


' The Gazette ' of January 7 contained the following 

announcement : — 

War Office, January 7, 1890. 

Queen's Rifle Volunteer Brigade, the Royal Scots (Lothian 
Regiment), Major and Honorary Lieutenant-Colonel Sir William 
Turner, Knight, resigns his Commission ; also is permitted to 
retain his rank and to continue to wear the uniform of the 
corps on his retirement. 

Both by his example and by his untiring devotion 
to duty, Turner did much to maintain the efficiency 
and discipline of the University Company. He was 
seldom absent from parade, and, in the summer months, 
he regularly spent Saturday afternoon marching and 
drilling with his men in the Queen's Park, His voice, 
admirably suited for giving the word of command, 
never failed to brings his men to attention. His 
natural capacity for command was further developed 
by his experience as a volunteer officer. Lord Finlay 
of Nairn, who was a private in No. 4 Company in 
its early days when Turner was ensign, has aptly 
applied to him a saying of Gibbon, the historian, 
" ' The Captain of the Hampshire Grenadiers has not 
been useless to the historian of the Roman Empire." 
And so perhaps Sir William Turner may have said 
when he came to preside over the University, " The 
Captain of No. 4 Company has not been useless to 
the Principal.'" 

Amongst the members of No. 4 Company in the 
early eighties was George Adam Smith, now Principal 
of the University of Aberdeen. He recalls the alert, 
keen -eyed figure of the lieutenant in a somewhat 
faded tunic, the legend attached to it being that its 
owner had worn it since the commencement of the 
volunteer movement ; doubtless, in this case, a legend 
with a strong basis of fact, when we remember his 
sympathetic attitude towards his garments. 

Turner, too, had his "Grenadiers" upon the wings 
of the Company, and he would refer to them with 
evident pride. Many will recollect in the eighties, 


the tall commanding figures of "Charlie" Reid, the 
Academical and Scottish Internationalist, and his 
comrade, W. T. Irvine, of the brothers Hartley, 
Sergeant Pridie and Corporal H. J. Walker, men who 
were conspicuous even amongst comrades of nO mean 
stature. Mr W. Bannerman, Writer to the Signet, 
was for many years his trusted lieutenant, and captain 
(now lieutenant-colonel) J. A. Hope was another 
officer of the Company. 

An old member of No. 4, Dr A. C. Hartley, thus 
describes Inspection Hay in the Queen's Park : "I 
well remember how proud our captain was when our 
line extended a long way beyond that of any other 
company. He was so pleased with the height and 
physical bearing of a lot of us that he went and called 
Sir J. H. A. Macdonald (Lord Kingsburgh) to come 
and see us. ' Come, sir, and look at my Grenadiers,' 
and then he stood beaming upon us, while we held 
our heads up and made the very most of our chests. 
When the time came for the march-past. Sir William 
took the time from the band, gave the word of 
command, and marched off at a swinging pace. W^e 
all did likewise, and linked up and passed the saluting- 
base rigid as a gate, and invariably with a cheer from 
the crowd." Four medical members of the original 
No. 4 Company of 1859 still survive — Emeritus Pro- 
fessors Crum Brown and Sir Thomas R. Eraser, Dr 
R. C. Maclagan, and Mr A. G. Miller, the surgeon, all 
of them at that time students of medicine. 

In the second great Volunteer Review of August 
1881, Turner again marched past his Queen, upon a 
day ever memorable in the annals of the Scottish 
Volunteers on account of the rain-storm in which it 
took place. Lord Kingsburgh, who commanded the 
Brigade, the Queen's Edinburgh, gives a graphic 
account of the scene in his ' Life's Jottings.' " The 
storm broke with fury about half an hour befoie 
the time appointed. No ordinary words can describe 
the downpour. It was one of those occasions 


when the fall Is not in drops, but in streams. There 
had been nothing seen in the Queen's Park to compare 
with it within the memory of man, and the parade- 
ground became a sea of mud before the march-past 

During the early years of Turner's residence in 
Edinburgh, the question of his migrating southwards 
arose on more than one occasion. His financial posi- 
tion was unquestionably a source of some anxiety to 
him. His salary of £200 as Demonstrator was slightly 
augmented by fees derived from coaching, a form of 
teaching which he was compelled to undertake at that 
time, and which he intensely disliked. For a period 
of six years, during which he had to discharge very 
responsible duties, Goodsir's state of health causing an 
increasing share of the work of the department to 
devolve upon him, no augmentation of his original 
salary had been suggested. When he accepted Good- 
sir's invitation in 1854, it was not with the intention 
of remaining permanently in Edinburgh, but rather 
with the view of widening his professional outlook and 
gaining additional scientific experience, while obtain- 
ing at the same time a certain means of livelihood. 

In February 1861, his friends at St Bartholomew's 
Hospital approached him with the view of obtaining 
his consent to apply for the Wardenship of the hos- 
pital, which was about to f\\ll vacant. The emolu- 
ments included a furnished house in the college. In 
addition, it opened up the prospect of a return to his 
old school and the commencement of a professional 
career in London, the desire for a physician's life still 
inHuencing his mind. Following his usual custom 
when any question arose involving a change in his 
prospects, he wrote to his mother — 

I have received a letter from my friend Mr Thomas Smith, 
in which he tells me of certain vacancies which have occurred 
at St Bartholomew's in consequence of poor Mr Baly's death. 
It appears, moreover, that Mr Paget and Mr Savory are very 


anxious to get me back to the hospital, and they tell me that 
if I will only agree to come they will secure for me a furnished 
house in the college and appointments to the value of £150 to 
£200 a year. 

The work I should have to do would be very slight, so that 
I should have much time for my own improvement. The 
object to be gained by going there would be to qualify myself 
for the post of physician to the hospital, which I should 
endeavour to obtain at the next vacancy. I am very much 
inclined to accept the proposal, but as I have not yet spoken 
to Mr Goodsir, or any of my friends, I shall not decide until I 
see whether they feel disposed to do anything more for me 
here. I do not wish the matter spoken about until I decide. 

Turner consulted Goodsir, Chrlstison, and Syme, 
and all spoke very strongly as to the advisability of 
his remaining in Edinburgh ; and, in order to improve 
both his financial position and his locus standi in the 
University, they approached the Commissioners with 
the view of obtaining an increase in his salary, to be 
paid from the University funds. The sum promised 
was £150, in addition to the salary paid by Goodsir. 
At the same time a definite University position was 
given to him by making his demonstratorship, which 
had hitherto been merely a private appointment 
made by Goodsir, one that was sanctioned and con- 
firmed by the University authorities. The question, 
therefore, of his remaining in Edinburgh at that time 
was thus wisely settled so far as the University was 

Unfortunately, this apparently legitimate and well- 
deserved improvement in Turner's position was not 
allowed to pass without some opposition on the part 
of one member of the Senatus Academicus. Hughes 
Bennett made it the occasion for attacking Goodsir's 
arrangements for Anatomical teaching in his depart- 
ment. He protested against the decision of the 
Senatus in confirming in the official schedule of the 
University Turner's courses of Anatomical Demon- 
strations. Several reasons were advanced by liim in 
support of his protest. Bennett considered that the 


demonstrations held in the anatomical theatre at a 
fixed hour, and for which an extra fee was exacted, 
made Turner appear as a recognised teacher of 
Anatomy, and that this was virtually creating 
another Professorship of Anatomy, under the sole 
patronage and control of Professor Goodsir. The 
relegation of such duties to an assistant enabled the 
Professor to give another course of lectures in what 
Bennett called "Anatomy from the physiological point 
of view, parts being displayed and explained with 
reference to their actions and functions." This he 
regarded as the teaching of Physiology, and therefore 
directly injurious to himself, in detracting from the 
freshness and novelty of his lectures. If Mr Turner 
were no longer tolerated as a lecturer, but constrained 
to confine his teaching to the dissecting-room as a 
demonstrator, the Professor of Anatomy would then 
be obliged to occupy his own lectures with the proper 
subject of his course. This tirade, which the circum- 
stances of the case hardly seem to have justified, did 
not affect the decision of the Senatus, nor did it alter 
Goodsir's method of conducting the work of his 
department along lines similar to what he had been 
doing for a number of years. Bennett's opposition, 
however, appears to have left a disagreeable impres- 
sion upon Turner's mind, because in the autumn of the 
same year he was considering the question of applying 
for the vacant Curatorship of the Museum of the Royal 
College of Surgeons of England, a post which carried 
with it, at that time, the Professorship of Histology. 
On the advice of Goodsir and Syme, however, he gave 
up any further idea of becoming a candidate for the 

In the spring of 1862, it was decided to found 
a Chair of Anatomy and Physiology in Melbourne 
College, Australia. After making inquiries as to the 
conditions of work and emoluments, Turner finally 
decided not to offer himself as an applicant for the 


In a letter, dated November 16, 1862, he announced 
to his mother that he was engaged to be married. 

I received on Tuesday from the University authorities the 
sum of £150, being the amount of my salary for the past 
academical year, payable to me from the University' fund. As 
I am now in receipt of an income of £400 per annum, I have 
determined to carry into effect a plan of which I have been 
for some time thinking, and to take unto m^-self a wife. I am 
quite tired of leading a bachelor life, and I have arrived at 
an age at which one is fairly entitled to marry without being 
charged with imprudence or haste. My means also will be 
such as will, I trust, with care, enable me to live in my new 
condition with comfort. 

The young lady who has consented to share my lot is the 
eldest daughter of Mr Logan, a gentleman living in the South 
of Scotland. I have been acquainted with her and her family 
for some time. If all goes well, the marriage will, I hope, 
take place in the spring of next year. I hope that the step 
which I am about to take will meet with your approval, and 
be assured that, though I will be assuming a new relation in 
life, yet that I shall not the less be your son nor you one iota 
less my own dear mother. 

Agnes Logan, to whom he had become engaged, 
was the eldest daughter of Abraham Logan, of" Burn- 
houses, Berwickshire. Turner had made her acquaint- 
ance at the house of his friends, Professor James 
Muirhead and his wife, where she and her sisters were 
frequent visitors during the winter months. At that 
time and for many years afterwards Mr Logan lived 
at Caverton, near Morebattle, Kelso, which he farmed 
with great success, and where he was held in high 
esteem by all who enjoyed his friendship. The 
marriage took place at Caverton on April 21, 1863, 
Turner being thirty-one years of age and his wife a 
year his junior. Mr Annandale, who was then acting 
as one oPGoodsir's demonstrators, officiated as grooms- 
man. The event was made the occasion of the presen- 
tation of a very handsome gift of silver plate from 
many of his present and former pupils, and of the 
expression on their part of those genuine feelings of 


respect and afFectiou which were always a striking 
feature of" the relations between his pupils and himself. 
In thanking them for their gift he said : — 

I am deeply sensible, not only of the honour which you 
have this day conferred on me, but of the kindness and hearty 
goodwill which have been displayed in the manner of its 
bestowal. When ray friend, Mr Annandale, called to ask me 
a week ago when it would be convenient for me to receive a 
present from some of my former and present pupils, I must 
confess that I was, for a time, quite taken aback. It was 
something so altogether unexpected, so unlooked for, that for 
a few moments I hardly knew how to reply to his question. 
During the period in which I have been working amongst 
you, it had never struck me that I had done more than my 
duty required, more than was demanded of me when we 
assumed towards each other the relation of teacher and pupil. 
You have been pleased to express, gentlemen, in the address 
which has just been read, a high and, I cannot but think, far 
too flattering an opinion of my efficiency and success as a 
teacher, for in this you are accrediting me with much that 
really belongs to yourselves. When a teacher is met half-way, 
nay, more than half-w^ay, as I have been, by pupils willing 
and anxious to learn, when he sees around him eager and 
inquiring faces, when he feels the influence of that mysterious 
sympathy which binds together a lecturer and an attentive 
audience, when he fully realises the importance of the subject 
which he is called upon to teach, then must he be dull and 
impassive indeed, if he throws not into his prelections that 
same eagerness of spirit which he sees reflected from those 
about him. 

You have been also pleased to wish me much happiness in 
certain new i-elations of life, which everybody seems to have 
made up his or her mind I am about to enter on. I am not 
the only person, gentlemen, to whom this expression of your 
wish this day will attbrd pleasure and gratification. In what 
you have done, you have added another to the many feelings 
of pleasantness with which I regard my connection with this 
great medical school. I can now look back on a period of 
nearly nine years' connection with it. During the whole of 
that not uneventful time, I can truly say that not only from 
my revered and honoured chief, but from the Professors in the 
Medical and other Faculties with whom I have been thrown 
in contact, from the various accomplished men w^ho have been 
from time to time associated with me in the Demonstratorship, 


and from the numerous pupils, amounting now to almost a 
thousand, who have sat on these benches, I have received a 
uniform courtesy and kindness which has not and, I can 
assure you, never will be forgotten. 

On his marriage, Turner removed from his lodgings 
in 3 South Frederick Street, where he had spent the 
greater part of his bachelor days in Edinburgh, to 
25 Royal Crescent, and it was there and in 7 Bruns- 
wick Street, Hillside, that the early years of his 
married life were passed. After his promotion to the 
Chair, realising that henceforth Edinburgh was to be 
the scene of his life's work, he purchased No. 6 Eton 
Terrace, to which, in the course of years, he became 
deeply attached, and where he continued to reside 
until his death. 

During the thirteen years in which Turner was 
associated with Goodsir as Demonstrator, the latter 
had to fight against an insidious but slowly progres- 
sive disease of the nervous system, but in spite of the 
physical weakness which gradually overcame him, his 
mind remained active and A'igorous, and his interest 
in scientific affairs never abated. As he entered the 
lecture theatre in these later days, he staggered 
and guided himself towards his chair by laying his 
hands upon the table, and, as a rule, he remained seated 
during the whole of the lecture. Towards the latter 
part of the Winter Session 1863-64, the state of 
Goodsir's health prevented him from completing his 
systematic course of lectures, and he was compelled 
to hand over both the teaching and the spring exam- 
inations to his Senior Demonstrator. It was with 
great reluctance that, upon the advice of his doctor, 
he had to submit to an enforced rest. In a letter 
addressed to the members of his class which he asked 
Mr Turner to read, he said — 

I have to express my extreme regret that, owing to the 
state of my health, 1 have been unable to bring the course to 
a conclusion, as I had hoped to do when last I addressed you. 
Acting upon the advice of my medical adviser and my col- 


leagues, I have very unwillingly found it necessary to have 
niy course finished by deputy. In these painful circumstances 
I have felt great relief in the conviction that you have shared 
with me in placing full confidence in Mr Turner's ability and 

I cannot, however, cease to regret that I have been precluded 
from meeting you again before the conclusion of a course, dur- 
ing which I have had the great satisfaction in observing, in 
your punctuality and attention, that my efforts to illustrate 
the principles of human anatomy were fully appreciated by 
my audience With best wishes for the continued success of 
your professional studies and for your progress in life, believe 
me, very sincerely yours, John Goodsir. 

Notwithstanding his increasing Infirmity and the 
gradual loss of power in his lower limbs, Goodsir 
fought against his fatal disease and continued to dis- 
charge his duties as a lecturer. He commenced his 
winter course in November 1866, but before the end 
of the month he fell in a fit in the presence of his 
class. He was attended during his last illness by his 
old friend Professor Spence, and within a few days 
of completing his fifty-third year, he died on March 6, 
1867, in South Cottage, Boswell Road, Wardie, in the 
same house which had witnessed the last hours of his 
friend, Edward Forbes. Shortly before his death, 
Goodsir sent for his friend and Junior Demonstrator, 
Mr John Chiene. Chiene has told us how he found 
him lying on a camp-bed in a narrow room, and upon 
a small table at his bedside lay his Bible and a volume 
of ' Quain's Anatomy.' 

He was buried in the Dean Cemetery ; a plain 
granite obelisk marks his resting-place, and adjacent 
to it is the grave of Edward Forbes, naturalist, the 
intimate companion of his earlier days. 




Appointment to the Chair — Short sketch of its history — Turner's 
method of teaching — lielations with his Students — Knighthood 
and K.G.B, — Presentation of the Eeid Portrait. 

Upon the death of Goodsir in March 1867, the con- 
test opened for the vacant Chair of Anatomy. As is 
usual on such occasions, rumour was busy with the 
names of several candidates, and the competition for 
the appointment promised to be keen. It was stated 
that John Cleland, then Professor of Anatomy and 
Physiology in Queen's College, Galway, was a candi- 
date; but he gave his support to Turner, his old fellow 
demonstrator. Rumour also asserted that Professor 
Redfern of Belfast would advance his claims for the 
post, and Huxley's name was mentioned in some 
quarters. There were, however, only three candi- 
dates — John Struthers, John Bell Pettigrew, and 
William Turner. Struthers had resigned his extra- 
mural lectureship in Edinburgh in 1863, on his 
appointment to the Chair of Anatomy in Aberdeen 
University. He was undoubtedly Turner's strongest 
opponent. He had been teaching Anatomy for a 
number of years, and his contributions to science 
were very numerous. He had been placed in charge 


of Goodsir's department during the enforced absence 
of the latter in 1853-54, and he came forward on this 
occasion with all the prestige attached to the Chair 
of Anatomy in Aberdeen. Pettigrew, another old 
Edinburgh student, was the First Assistant to Flower 
in the Museum of the Royal College of Surgeons of 
England, but his claims to the post were not sufficiently 
strong to make him a formidable rival. 

Turner's candidature received widespread support. 
In submitting his testimonials to the Curators of 
Patronage, in whose hands the appointment lay, he 
made no elaborate statement regarding his qualifica- 
tions for the Chair. He contented himself with 
drawing attention to what the most distinguished 
Anatomists and Pysiologists, both in this country and 
abroad, had to say of his special claims as a Human 
Anatomist, and of the position which he had taken 
as a scientific investigator, not merely in one, but in 
all the departments of anatomical inquiry. He 
pointed out how physicians and surgeons had testi- 
fied to the value of his writings in the elucidation of 
various difficult questions in Pathology, and he referred 
to the expression of opinion which his many pupils, 
past and present, attached to his method of instruc- 
tion, and to the assistance which he had always will- 
ingly given to them in the prosecution of original 
scientific inquiries. His testimonials, which numbered 
more than one hundred, were accompanied by a long 
list of his publications. 

Amongst Anatomists, Zoologists, and Physiologists, 
we find Owen, Huxley, Flower, Quain, Humphry, 
Rolleston, Holden, Allen - Thomson, Sharpey, St 
George Mivart, Hyrtl, Victor Cams, Gegenbaur, Paul 
Broca, and Van der Hoeven, testifying to his ability 
and to his fitness for the Chair. A request for a 
testimonial from Oliver Wendell Holmes, Professor 
of Anatomy in the Harvard Medical School, elicited 
the following reply from the author of ' The Autocrat 
of the Breakfast Table ' : — 


Boston, April 6th, 1867. 

I feel much flattered by the compliment you have paid me 
in asking for the expression of my opinion as to your quali- 
fications for the Chair of Anatomy in the University of 

I confess that I dare not presume that my name would be 
known to the gentlemen with whom resides the power of 
selection. " Quis custodiet ? " Who shall guarantee the guar- 
antors ? " The River Rhine, &c., but who shall wash the 
River Rhine ? " 

I know that your record is one most creditable to your 
ability and scientific industry, but I should feel that I was 
out of place in assuming to enlighten your own countrymen 
and townsmen concerning a series of varied labours which, 
they must know at least as well as myself, have done honour 
to your University. 

I am afraid, therefore, that I must confine myself to thank- 
ing you for telling me that my name is known to at least one 
other of my professional brethren in Edinburgh besides Dr 
John Brown, who has long been one of my unseen friends. 
My recollections of Auld Reekie are very delightful. I knew 
nobody there, I believe, but old Dr Knox,^ to whom one of us 
had a letter. I was a medical student then, and my love was 
divided between the museum and the famous haunts in and 
about the dear old city. I remember a marvellous mercurial 
injection by Dr John Bell, 1 think, also a tour deforce in the 
way of an arterial preparation. 1 wonder if you know the 
ones I mean and whether my recollection is faithful. But I 
am afraid I should care more for Salisbury Crags and Arthur's 
Seat than for them and other things if 1 ever revisited your 
romantic town. 

You have asked for bread and I have given you a stone. I 
hope to hear, however, that you have found others, who not 
only had the will but the ability to oblige you with the words 
of recommendation which I should feel it almost presumption 
for me to ofl'er. O. W. Holmes. 

His friends in London and elsewhere rallied to his 
support. James Paget and John Stenhouse, his old 
teachers at St Bartholomew's, Thomas Smith, Savory, 
Hilton, Hughlings Jackson, and Joseph Lister, are 
amongst the names attached to his testimonials. 

^ Robert Knox — see page 120. 


The profession in Edinburgh loyally supported 
him, and eight of the eleven men holding Chairs in 
the Medical Faculty gave him testimonials. They 
included Christison, Syme, Simpson, and Lyon 
Playfair, while many of his old pupils v^ho were 
beginning to secure positions for themselves, testified 
to his undoubted claims to be Goodsir's successor. 
The enthusiasm which was aroused amongst the 
students of Anatomy was one of the most striking 
features connected with his candidature. A con- 
joint testimonial, signed by no fewer than three 
hundred and fifty undergraduates in medicine, was 
a spontaneous expression of their feeling towards him, 
and emphasised their admiration of him as a man of 
honour, a beloved teacher, and a profound man of 
science. When his success was announced, he became 
the recipient of many letters of congratulation from 
old pupils, scattered all over the country and in 
different parts of the Empire. Mr P. W. Mackay, 
the Chairman of the Students' Committee which 
undertook the preparation of the testimonial, writes 
thus to him after the election : " You will under- 
stand that no words of mine were or are needed to 
congratulate you upon your success. I never believed 
in expressed feeling, but I can only say that, as I look 
forward to the path that may lie before me away 
from schools and colleges and immediate instruction, 
into the wide world where each man has to hew his 
own way, and after seeing and experiencing many 
kinds of teaching and looking back with much respect 
to all my teachers, there are none for whom I shall 
cherish a deeper love or more profound esteem than 

It was undoubtedly a period of great anxiety for 
Turner and his wife. He naturally felt that his 
future prospects in Edinburgh depended upon his 
success. Failure would have meant his departure 
and a rearrangement of his plans. In spite of his 
outstanding claims to the succession, his appointment 


was by no means a foregone conclusion, and influences 
were at work which might have turned the scale 
against him. He recognised that his English origin, 
his education in another school, and his membership 
of the Church of England were factors which some 
regarded at that period of time as prejudicial to his 
prospects of election. 

The Curators of Patronage met on April 11th, 
1867, and proceeded to the election of the Professor 
of Anatomy. The Lord Provost presided. The 
representatives of the University were — The Right 
Hon. John Inglis, Lord President of the Court of 
Session ; Sir William Gibson Craig, Bart. ; and Sir 
David Brewster, the Principal ; while the Town 
Council was represented by Mr William Chambers, 
the Lord Provost ; Bailie G. E. Russell ; Councillors 
Fyfe and Adam Black. 

In opening the proceedings, the Chairman said that 
he had never had a more difficult duty to perform 
than that of making a decision as regarded at least 
two of the candidates. Mr Pettigrew's qualifications 
were undoubtedly of a high order : he was a young 
man of great promise, and might look forward to a 
distinguished career in his profession as an anatomist, 
but obviously he could not on the present occasion 
be placed in competition with the two others. For 
Dr Struthers he could not but entertain a hitrh 
esteem, both in respect of his talents and private 
character, and his testimonials, from those who knew 
him best, spoke greatly in his favour. On the other 
hand, there seemed to be preponderating reasons for 
electing Mr Turner. That gentleman had conducted 
the anatomical class in Edinburgh for a period of 
thirteen years. He enjoyed the suffrage and the 
affection of the students : the medical professors in 
the University looked hopefully towards him as a 
coadjutor, and, if the testimonial from Dr Sharpey of 
London was to be credited, Mr Turner was probably 
unrivalled as a teacher of Anatomy, as well as for 


general scientiHc requirements. For these various 
reasons he (the Lord Provost) had, after much con- 
sideration and perplexity, made up his mind to pro- 
pose Mr Turner for the vacant Chair. His Lordship 
then asked the opinion of each of the other six 
Curators. Sir William Gibson Craig, Sir David 
Brewster, and Mr Adam Black concurred in the 
observations that had been made, and were in favour 
of Mr Turner, The next Curator whose opinion was 
invited was Councillor Fyfe. He also said that he 
had no little difficulty in coming to a decision in 
consequence of the high qualifications of two of the 
candidates. He thought, however, that there was 
one thing which weighed favourably for Dr Struthers. 
That gentleman was a Scotsman, and well acquainted 
with Scottish usages and feelings, and, unfortunately, 
it could not escape attention that the appointment 
of Englishmen to professorships in Scotland had not, 
in some instances, been very successful. He therefore 
gave his vote for Dr Struthers. The Lord President 
spoke next. He entirely concurred in the observa- 
tions respecting the eligibility of Mr Turner, who, he 
was quite sure, would amply sustain the reputation 
of the University of Edinburgh as a medical school. 
He could not possibly sympathise with Mr Fyfe in his 
remarks as to preferring a candidate because he was 
a Scotsman. " One thing above all others to be 
proud of is the perfect catholicity of our University. 
We gladly take the best men from whatever part of 
the country they come, and this indeed is one of 
the fine points of all our Scottish Colleges. Besides, 
Mr Turner, though originally from England, is no 
new and unknown person. He has been amongst us 
for thirteen years, and has all along worked cordially 
with the various departments of the University." 

The last to address the meeting was Bailie Russell, 
who. after some observations, concurred in the ap- 
pointment of Mr Turner. The Lord Provost then 
summed up. Six of the Curators voted for Mr Turner 


and one for Dr Struthers. Mr Turner was therefore 
elected Professor of Medicine and Anatomy in the 
University of Edinburgh at the age of 35, 

Dr Pettigrew was subsequently appointed to the 
Chair of Anatomy in St Andrews in 1875. Tlie result 
of the election in no way altered the friendly rela- 
tions which had always existed between Struthers 
and Turner, and when, on his retirement from Aber- 
deen in 1889, Sir John Struthers^ came to live in 
Edinburgh, the two friends saw a great deal of each 
other. The following letter illustrates the cordial 
feelings which Struthers entertained for his friend : — 

24 Buckingham Terrace, Edinburgh, 
3rd April, 1895. 

I wish to say how sorry I am not to have been able to 
appear at the interesting meeting yesterday for the presenta- 
tion of your portrait. I had intended to be present, but sad 
letters came in the morning rendering me unable to attend 
to any such thing. Otherwise I am sure it would have given 
me much pleasure to be there, or even, had there been a 
suitable opportunity, to have said a word or two of high 
appreciation, as an old fellow-worker in the same branch. 
Allow me to take the liberty of saying that the great name 
of the Chair of Anatomy in Edinburgh, made for it by the 
first and second Monro and restored to it by Goodsir, has 
been fully maintained by you, and you have the happiness 
of knowing that you have sent out into the world even more 
men than they did. When the time comes for you to think 
it wise to follow my example, which need not be soon, I hope 
you may then have years to enjoy the pleasure of voluntary 
work. John Struthers. 

On the receipt of the news announcing the result 
of the election, Paget wrote to Turner as follows : — 

I congratulate you with all my heart. Personally I could 
not but feel deeply interested in the election, for I had the 
good fortune to know and to say, even before you began 

' Sir John Struthers, mentioned from time to time in these pages, 
must not be confused with Sir John Struthers, the head of the Scotch 
Education Department. 


your work in Edinburgh, that your success as an anatomist 
would be certain, and now I may boast that the Professors of 
Anatomy in Oxford, Cambridge, and Edinburgh were once 
my pupils, I wish you many years of great happiness and 

Paget used frequently to say that he had sent 
llolleston to Oxford, Humphry to Cambridge, and 
Turner to Edinburgh, all of whom had been his 
pupils at St Bartholomew's. 

A brief sketch of the history of the Chair to which 
Turner was appointed is not inappropriate at this 
point. The teaching of Anatomy in Edinburgh owed 
its origin primarily to the College of Surgeons, which 
opened, in 1697, an anatomical theatre in Surgeons' 
Square. At first, the duty of teaching was entrusted 
to a number of " operators," as they were called, who 
carried through their course of instruction in a period 
of ten days. In 1705, this system was changed, and 
the surgeons appointed Robert Elliot as their teacher 
or " Public Dissector of Anatomy." The Town 
Council, however, who had the sole right of creating 
professorships within the city, made Elliot a professor, 
with the munificent allowance of £15 sterling per 
annum. The surgeons never employed this designa- 
tion in their records, though the Town Council in 
their minutes always referred to Elliot as Professor 
of Anatomy. Adam Drummond was later appointed 
professor along with him, and, on the death of Elliot 
in 1716, John M'Gill shared the appointment with 
Drummond, the two men being styled by the Town 
Council as the " Conjunct Professors of Anatomy in 
this City and College." In 1720, however, Drum- 
mond and M'Gill resigned their conjoint " Chair," 
and recommended to the Town Council as their suc- 
cessor Alexander Monro, who, at the age of twenty- 
two, was appointed professor on terms similar to 
those of his predecessors. 

He commenced his lectures in Surgeons' Square 
with a class of fifty -seven students. By his bril- 


liancy and fame as a teacher he soon attracted men 
from all parts of the country. In 1725, the Town 
Council admitted him within the walls of the Uni- 
versity, where he founded the Anatomical Depart- 
ment. The number of his students increased to 182, 
which was the maximum attained during his tenure of 
the Chair. Monro primus was largely instrumental in 
establishing, along with Lord Provost Drummond, the 
Royal Infirmary, the building of which was begun in 
1736. He also inaugurated a Medical Society, from 
which the Philosophical Society developed, this in 
turn being the immediate parent of the Royal 
Society of Edinburgh, which received its charter in 
1783. After thirty- five years of teaching, Monro 
resigned in 1755, in favour of his son. 

Monro secundus, who was twenty - five years 
of age at the time of his appointment, surpassed 
his father both as a teacher and as a man of 
science, and his class of anatomy increased to 436 
members. He raised the reputation of the Chair, 
80 that it came to be regarded as one of the first in 
Europe. Though the second Monro lived in a period 
of great men in medicine, such as Cullen, the 
Gregories, Joseph Black, and the Rutherfords, he 
held his place intellectually and socially, and was 
the acknowledged head of the medical school. He 
continued teaching until 1808, a period of fifty-three 
years, though, after 1798, his son was associated with 
him as co- professor. 

Monro tertius was, like his father, twenty - five 
years old when he was elected in 1798. Although 
he lacked neither ability nor accomplishments, he 
failed as a teacher to maintain the reputation of the 
Chair at the high level which it enjoyed in the time 
of his father and grandfather. After teaching for 
forty-eight years he resigned in 1846, when he was 
succeeded by John Goodsir, then thirty-two years of 
age. It was during the time of the third Monro that 
the fame of the Edinburgh Anatomical School passed 


into the hands of the extra-academical teachers, when 
first Barclay, and then Knox, attracted to their 
lecture room many hundreds of students. 

Robert Knox, the pupil and successor of Barclay at 
Surgeons' Square, proved so successful that his class 
attained an unprecedented size even in Edinburgh, 
numbering in one session 504 members. His popu- 
larity, however, began to wane in 1836, possibly due 
in part to the association of his name with the Burke 
and Hare murders, and partly to his intolerance of the 
opinions of others, which he slighted, regarding his 
own views on anatomical matters as alone worthy of 

From the appointment of Monro primus to the 
University Chair in 1725, to the death of Goodsir 
in 1867, a period of one hundred and forty - two 
years, the Chair of Anatomy, one of the oldest in 
the country, was in the occupation of four men 
only, three of whom, prior to their promotion, had 
filled for a space of time the office of assistant to 
their predecessor. The history of the Chair, previous 
to and including the appointment of Turner, furnishes 
strong evidence of the success attending the selection 
of young candidates for professorial positions. Our 
forefathers showed a wisdom which has not always 
distinguished their successors in whose hands lies 
the filling up of University and other teaching ap- 
pointments. The tendency of the present day leans 
too much towards attaching undue weight to seniority 
as a mark of distinction in the selection of candidates. 

Turner took up his professorial duties fully con- 
scious of the honourable position to which he had 
been chosen, and duly recognising the responsibilities 
which had devolved upon him. In addressing his 
class for the first time, on 4th November 1867, he 
said — 

The past history of this Chair is one upon which we may 
look back with pride. Worthily to tread on the path pur- 


sued by those who have gone before may well serve as an 
object of ambition to the anatomist. To conduct the study 
in that comprehensive spirit which has characterised the 
teaching of former professors, and to strive to reach their 
standard of excellence, must ever be a matter of duty. To 
teach not only those facts in our science respecting which 
there can be no question, and on which dogmatic speaking 
is permissible; to show in what direction progress is pos- 
sible and can be made ; nay more, to induce some, perhaps, 
to act as pioneers in opening up paths as yet untrod, is 
incumbent on him who tills the Chair of Anatomy in this 
great University. 

If that golden rule, which ought never to be lost sight of 
by one holding the responsible office of a teacher, be ever kept 
in mind, that the value of a course of instruction depends not 
only on the importance of the subject, but on the truthful 
spirit in which it is taught, then one may hope that, when 
in future years you recall the hours spent on the benches of 
the anatomical theatre, or by the tables of the dissecting- 
room, each of you will be able to say : " There I acquired 
knowledge, there I treasured up facts, which have stood me 
in good stead at manj^ a difficult and anxious stage of my 
professional career." 

The Edinburgh method aimed at something more 
than the teaching of anatomy as applied to medicine 
and surgery. Criticism has sometimes been passed 
that the subject was not sufficiently placed before 
the student from the latter point of view, but such 
criticism is hardly justified by an examination of the 
whole scheme carried out in the Department. The 
study of the structure of the human body was 
pursued along two lines, the synthetical and the 
analytical. Turner in his lectures followed the first, 
and proceeded along the lines adopted by his pre- 
decessors, and commenced with the description of 
the bony skeleton or body framework. The position, 
shape, and structure of the bones were first noted, 
and their mode of articulation and movements at 
the various joints were discussed. The bones were 
clothed with the muscles whose attachment, structure, 
and action were next inquired into. The arrange- 


ment and distribution of the blood and lymph vessels 
and the nerve supply were considered, and finally the 
structure and arrangement of the internal organs and 
the general Ijody covering were examined. Man's 
place in nature and the process of his evolution were 
duly illustrated by appropriate reference to compara- 
tive anatomy. 

A wider conception of the structure of the human 
frame was thus acquired. Teaching along such lines 
was a means of developing the general medical edu- 
cation of the student, and gave him a sounder grasp 
of the general principles of anatomy and its allied 
sciences. " As the basis of the biological sciences, 
the structure of the human and animal frame must 
be constantly appealed to in all attempts at classifi- 
cation ; in all inquiries into the adaptation of parts 
to special means and ends ; in all discussions respect- 
ing the manifold functions which they carry out in 
health, and the alterations and disturbances in these 
functions which take place in disease." 

Turner looked upon anatomy as holding a foremost 
place in the system of medical education, because, by 
its study, "the habit of observation is cultivated in 
order to see truly and completely the objects to be 
examined. Further, judgment must be rightly em- 
ployed so as to interpret these appearances. The 
habit of comparison must be acquired when one 
structure is contrasted with another ; reflection must 
be exercised in order to draw correct inferences re- 
garding the uses of organs and the part which they 
play in the economy of the whole, while the spirit of 
speculation may be indulged in respecting the origin 
of the forms and their place in nature. When these 
mental qualities have been developed by a study of 
the normal, the student is better fitted to approach 
the study of disease, to recognise when the organs 
get out of repair, and when the functions which they 
perform in health have become altered or suppressed." 

In the demonstrations instituted a hundred years 


before by the second Monro, the analytical method 
of inquiry was adopted, and the study of anatomy, 
from its medical and surgical aspects, was thus pro- 
vided for. The surface landmarks were carefully 
noted, the integuments were then removed, and the 
muscles described as they were brought into view, 
while the position and relations of the blood-vessels, 
nerves, and various organs were studied, and finally 
the bones and joints were laid bare. To confine the 
teaching of anatomy to the method of analysis alone 
must necessarily cramp the outlook of the student, 
and deprive him of the means of acquiring the wider 
intelligence. Turner has thus expressed his views in 
no uncertain manner : — 

It is an erroneous conception of the science which could 
never have arisen in a University system of teaching, which 
must acquire a breadth and comprehensiveness such as is 
scarcely attainable in the more purely technical schools. A 
knowledge of the topographical relations of parts and organs 
does not embrace the whole science of the subject. Such a 
limited conception of what is meant by the term anatomy, 
and what ought to be included in its teaching, is most un- 
philosophical. Here, where the tradition of the character of 
the teaching of the second Monro still lingers in the school ; 
here, where John Goodsir propounded the science in its mani- 
fold relations, it would be an act of treason to the memory of 
these great men, and to the whole history and development of 
our school, for one moment to entertain it. 

With reo^ard to the value to be derived from the 
study of anatomical detail, Turner was never m any 
doubt. His sympathies were not with those who 
argued that the minutiae of topographical anatomy 
acquired by the student with so much labour and 
toil, and which were so soon forgotten when the 
examination ordeal had been successfully passed, were 
of little use to the busy practitioner. 

Of the shoals of wranglers that Cambridge has sent out 
during the last (juarter of a century, how many, except thovse 
who may be following mathematics as a business, have pre- 


served any accurate recollection of the scores of mathematical 
details which they had at their fingers' end at the time of the 
examination ? And yet are we to say that they derived no 
mental profit from their study ? How many of the Classmen 
that Oxford has trained during the same period, always except- 
ing those who are scholars by profession, could now write 
Latin verses, explain the distinctive characters of the Greek 
language, or even read a Greek play without the aid of a 
Lexicon ? — and yet have not these men improved in taste, in 
the power of using their own language, and in literary expres- 
sion, by the cultivation of the ancient classics ? 

How long do students retain in their memories the dimen- 
sions of the epithelium and other cells, the breadth of nerve 
fibres, and othCi;- fine details of histological study ? Who 
amongst busj^ practitioners remembers the volume of the 
different gases, or the atomic weights of any but the most 
common of the elements ? What use in practice is a minute 
knowledge of the chemical constitution of muscle ? What is 
the need to the great bulk of practitioners of being able to 
discriminate between the characters of the different kinds of 
cinchona bark or of aloes ? 

And yet is it to be said that because all these minute details 
have no direct practical application, and are so soon forgotten, 
that it is useless ever to learn them, and that the time and 
labour they have occupied have been wasted ? Is not a know- 
ledge of these things, temporary though it may be, evidence 
of a poAver of continuous application and of mastering facta ? 
Is it possible, indeed, to obtain a sound general conception of 
any science, or other subject of study, unless the details are 
gone into and understood ? I could tell you of more than one 
instance in which men have gone utterly wrong in their 
enunciation of what they thought were general principles, 
simply because they had not taken the trouble to master the 
details. Depend upon it that, whether you learn or do not 
learn, in the minute details of the more important subjects of 
study lies the difference between slipshod information and 
that kind of knowledge, the possession of which makes a 
man feel that he is treading on firm ground and not on the 
shifting sand. 

Turner's teaching was distinguished by clearness of 
thought, combined with lucidity of exposition. Many 
men possess as thorough a knowledge of their subject 
as he did, and think that they have no difficulty in 


explaining it to others, but in the minds of their 
hearers a very different feeling may have been pro- 
duced, and they may be conscious of having obtained 
only a confused idea of what has been laid before 
them. This could never be said of Turner's exposi- 
tion, as he combined the faculty of thought and speech 
in no ordinary degree. His " clear thinking " was not 
confined to the lecture-room : it was a habit of mind 
which came quite naturally to him, and was equally 
noticeable in conversation, however simple the matter 
under discussion might be. To those of his audience 
to whom the subject was already familiar, it some- 
times appeared as if he were unnecessarily elementary 
in the way in which he placed his views before them 
or told his story, but there could never be any doubt 
as to what he meant. In his teaching he seemed to 
adopt the principle that even the simplest fact was 
worth explaining, and that it was preferable, if one 
wished to be lucid, to assume that the audience knew 
nothing whatever of the matter. He trained him- 
self to teach, and his subject undoubtedly lent itself 
to the acquirement of precise and accurate statement. 
The main features were emphasised, often by repeti- 
tion in a slightly different form, while the details were 
not unduly enforced, so that no blurring of the mental 
picture resulted. 

Every lecturer has his own style and method of 
delivery, which soon become recognised as peculiar to 
him. It Is, Indeed, a part of his individuality, and, if 
not too pronounced, may increase rather than detract 
from the impresslveness of his teaching. It may be 
justly said of Turner that he was free from any affecta- 
tion or mannerisms. He lectured without notes, which 
allowed him freedom to move about the area of the 
theatre and handle the various objects required for 
illustration. A certain hesitancy frequently charac- 
terised the commencement of his description, but as 
he warmed to his subject this disappeared, and his 
sentences, marked by clearness of utterance, never 


failed to reach the ears of his students. He did not 
address his audience directly, being in the habit of 
looking closely at the object which he was describing 
and, from time to time, directing his glance upwards 
at the men seated on the benches in front of him. 
One of his favourite expressions of speech was the 
use of the words " no dubiety," and curiously enough 
he was not aware, at any rate for many years, that 
the phrase had come to be regarded by generations 
of students as his particular property. They were 
always greeted with a round of applause, and we 
have a suspicion that latterly he purposely avoided 
using them. Their association with him has been 
permanently recorded under his portrait in the clever 
series of imaginary figures for the M'Ewan Hall niches, 
drawn by the late Mr John Wallace, known under the 
pseudonym of " George Pipeshank," Here Turner 
is represented holding a skull in his left hand, while 
his figure rests against a whale, the caudal appendage 
of which is embraced by his right arm. 

Turner took endless trouble in the preparation of 
his lectures, and his specimens, diagrams, and black- 
board tables were arranged under his own immediate 
supervision. The hour preceding the one o'clock 
lecture was devoted to this object, and he refused 
to be disturbed by outside matters and callers during 
this period. He left nothing to chance, and he took 
every precaution to make his lecture a success. He 
exercised the same care on other public occasions, as, 
for instance, when he had to make an important 
speech. His old assistant. Professor Arthur Thomson, 
recalls an incident at the time of the University Ter- 
centenary Celebrations. It had been arranged that 
Turner should make a speech at the luncheon which 
was given in what is now the Anatomical Museum. 
Shortly before the appointed hour he took Thomson 
into the Museum and directed him to take up different 
positions in the hall while he selected the spot where 
he was to be seated and proceeded to deliver sundry 


sentences and sentiments, afterwards ascertaining 
from Thomson how his voice carried. That he 
regarded a good voice and a clear enunciation as 
important assets in teaching is illustrated by the 
following incident. When Arthur Thomson's appoint- 
ment as Senior Demonstrator hung in the balance, 
Turner requested him to stand at the table in the 
area of the lecture theatre, while he himself climbed 
to the back bench and listened to Thomson's exposi- 
tion, a somewhat trying ordeal for the youthful 
demonstrator, but evidently quite satisfactory, as 
proved by his selection to the post. 

His class discipline was excellent. " My class has 
always had the reputation of being an orderly class, 
and I will see that that reputation is maintained," 
was the rebuke which he administered on one occasion 
when an excess of exuberant spirits manifested itself. 
It became a tradition in the school that it was no use 
making a disturbance at the anatomy lecture. Con- 
sequently there was no rowdyism, and woe to the 
unfortunate man who attempted to break down the 
tradition. Discipline was not maintained either by 
bullying or by expostulation. The method adopted, 
if the occasion arose, was simple and effective. The 
lecturer fixed his gaze upon the delinquent, and it 
was not relaxed until silence was restored or the mis- 
demeanour readjusted. The sympathy of the class 
was with the Professor. The following anecdote 
illustrates Turner's happy method of dealing with 
the situation. On one occasion he had commenced 
to lecture upon the bones. High up on one of the 
back benches, a student, to whom the dried bones 
made no appeal, was comfortably occupied reading 
the daily newspaper. Turner soon had his eye upon 
him. " Gentlemen, we commence the study of the 
bones ; this is a long bone which I hold in my 
hand ; it has a shaft and two extremities." A brief 
pause ensued and the Professor's voice repeated : 
" This, gentlemen, is a long bone with a shaft and 


two extremities," and he continued to fix his gaze 
upon the all-unconscious offender. " Gentlemen, once 
more I repeat, this is a long bone with a shaft and 
two extremities, and if the gentleman who is so deeply 
interested in the news of the day will kindly attend 
to the lecture, I shall continue, but not till then." 
An impressive silence followed, broken only by the 
sound of the crumpling up of the newspaper, while 
the young man, now doing his best to look uncon- 
cerned, endeavoured to hide himself behind his 
neighbour. The lecture then proceeded without 
further interruption. 

Certain of his lectures retain a more permanent 
hold upon the memory than others, notwithstanding 
the passing of the years. The introductory at the 
commencement of the winter session was one of 
these. Possibly the feeling that we were in the 
presence of a strong personality, that the facts which 
were being laid before us, concerning which there 
could be "no dubiety," were sufficient to stamp them 
upon the memory ; but in addition, there was the 
masterly manner in which the lecturer, commencing 
with the lower forms of life, sketched the develop- 
ment of the vertebral column or spine, and, demon- 
strating the changes in its shape and curves, and 
the attachment of the limbs to it, as he passed up 
the scale in mammalian development, concluded with 
the words, "Man alone stands and walks erect." 

His lectures upon the brain always proved an at- 
traction. The more difficult the subject, the greater 
his skill in rendering it simple to the minds of his 
audience. The lecture-room in the University New 
Buildings, with accommodation for nearly five hun- 
dred students, was, in the eighties, when the Medical 
School was at its zenith, crowded far beyond its seat- 
ing capacity during this part of the course. 

His power of holding the attention of an audience 
of experts in the exposition of a difficult subject was 
well illustrated in his address upon " The Compara- 


tive Anatomy of the Convolutions of the Brain," which 
he delivered before the members of the Anatomical 
Section at the International Congress held in Berlin 
in 1890. He carried his audience with him through 
an intricate argument in such a masterly manner 
that the success which attended his efforts was the 
subject of eulogy on the part of those who listened 
to him. An amusing incident connected with this 
lecture is related by his old prosector, William 
Turner, afterwards a well-known surgeon at Gibraltar, 
who was also present at the Congress. On the morn- 
ing following, while the latter was still in bed in his 
hotel in the Unter-den-Linden, he was visited by a 
German professor, who demanded an interview with- 
out delay. So urgent was the message that William 
Turner felt obliged to see him at once. The pro- 
fessor begged his permission to cop}'- some of the 
diagrams which had been hung up to illustrate the 
lecture of the previous day. He was politely assured 
that so far as he (Turner) was concerned there would 
be no objection whatsoever, but that unfortunately 
the diagrams did not belong to him. The discomfited 
professor was therefore obliged to retire a sadder and, 
we trust, a wiser man. 

Turner's work in the dissecting-rooms brought him 
into more intimate touch with his students than was 
possible in the lecture theatre. They met each other 
more in the relation of fellow-workers in a common 
cause, than in that of teacher and pupil. The sense 
of inequality which the rostrum or the platform 
seemed to inspire, and which produced the impres- 
sion as of " a great gulf fixed " between teacher and 
taught, disappeared to a large extent when all met 
on the floor of the " Rooms." Here, as he passed 
from group to group, he had the opportunity of 
observing the men at their work, of appreciating 
their difficulties, of assisting them with friendly words 
of encouragement, and of listening to their views. 
Statements of facts and expressions of opinion were 



not confined to one side alone, and criticism was not 
only possible, but welcomed. 

It was in the dissecting - room that the student 
occasionally obtained a glimpse of that sense of 
humour of which Turner had a large share, though 
it was usually concealed from his class behind an 
attitude of seriousness and gravity. The following 
anecdote illustrates how ready he was to poke fun 
at some keen dissector, who was anxious to bring to 
his notice an anatomical variation which he felt sure 
would interest the professor, and perhaps, at the 
same time, interest the professor in him. Two 
dissectors, busily engaged in unravelling the muscles 
of the fore-arm, thought, in their inexperience, that 
they had discovered some unusual arrangement in 
certain tendons of insertion which might possibly 
reveal an interesting abnormality. "Well, young 
men, how are you getting on ? " Turner inquired 
genially as he reached their table. They exhibited 
their specimen with no little pride and awaited the 
verdict. He gave it a keen look and paused, then, 
with a twinkle in his eyes, thus expressed his 
opinion : " The abnormality is on the part of the 
dissectors ; Nature very seldom makes a mistake. 
Clear it up, gentlemen, clear it up," and he passed 
on to the next table, chuckling at their discomfiture. 

Turner introduced a series of practical examina- 
tions, which had a very stimulating and inspiring- 
influence upon the men in their study of anatomy. 
They became extremely popular, and the competition 
was very keen. Five examinations were held during 
the winter session. They were not conducted in 
camera. The class was subdivided into sections of 
fifteen or twenty men, and each member of the 
section was shown a specimen and questioned in the 
presence of his neighbours. Each man, therefore, 
knew the failure or success of his companions, and 
towards the close of the session the interest in the 
final results steadily increased, and excitement ran 


high as to the prospects of the successful candidates 
passing through the ordeal of the final examination. 
Turner knew equally with his class who were leading. 
It must, at times, have proved difficult for him to 
formulate questions of similar value for the success- 
ful men, but his sense of justice and fairness carried 
him through his difficulties without arousing adverse 
comment. On more than one occasion, the final re- 
sults were arrived at only by submitting the same 
question to each of the rival candidates individually 
and separately, so that there might be no possibility 
of one man obtaining an advantage over his neighbour. 
It can readily be understood that examinations of this 
kind taxed both the mental and physical energy of the 
examiner, but Turner never spared himself on these 
occasions, believing, as he did, in the benefit which 
the student derived from his system. 

As an examiner he never failed to give the most 
conscientious attention to those on the border-line, or 
to those who, by superior talents, merited distinction. 
His well-balanced judgment in such cases was pro- 
verbial. Turner has thus expressed himself on the 
question of competitive examinations : — 

Some educationists hold that the system is thoroughly 
bad, and that students should apply themselves without this 
incentive. Such, however, is the inherent inertia in human 
nature and in students, that it often needs great stimulus to 
bring young men forward. Experience proves that competi- 
tive examinations are a marked stimulus in educational train- 
ing. Those who object to the system have never proposed a 
better one. Preparation for examination is an important 
mental discipline. It enables the student to trace his or her 
progress by comparison with others. The striving to be as 
one's neighbours is an educational weapon. Sluggisli content- 
ment is the enemy of all progress in individuals, institution.*", 
and communities. 

He succeeded in impressing upon his class the 
advantages which would accrue to his study of An- 
thropology if he could obtain the necessary material. 


In consequence of this, he was able to bring together 
a very large and valuable collection of crania from all 
parts of the world, a considerable portion of the col- 
lection being the gift of his old students, who, when 
scattered over the globe in their several occupations, 
did not forget their old teacher's enthusiasm for 
scientific material. His own keenness as a collector 
nearly led Turner, on more than one occasion, into 
difficulties. When spending a summer vacation on 
the shores of Loch Goil, one morning he was leisurely 
steering his boat within a short distance of the shore, 
when his quick eye detected a seal asleep upon a 
neighbouring rock. He at once seized an oar, and, 
without waiting to consider what the depth of the 
water might be, he sprang from the boat, and, with 
oar uplifted, advanced towards the rock. The noise 
of his approach, however, awakened the animal to 
the imminent danger of its position, and in a few 
moments, with a glide and a flop, it disappeared 
beneath the surface, and the hunter was deprived 
of his quarry. 

His passion for collecting skulls might, on one 
occasion, have led him into difficulties with the 
French authorities, if good luck had not favoured 
him in his enterprise. While touring through Brit- 
tany with two of his sons, he made up his mind 
that, if the opportunity presented itself, he would 
enrich his museum by acquiring one or more Breton 
crania. He was well aware that in the little stone 
buildings placed in the corner of the graveyards, 
and used as tool - sheds by the gravediggers, it 
was the custom to place the bones turned up from 
the soil during the preparation of fresh graves. One- 
morning the occasion presented itself, and the three 
travellers, having descended from their carriage, which 
they left at some little distance, sauntered as uncon- 
cernedly as possible into the graveyard and approached 
the tool-house. In the far corner of the enclosure two 
men were busily engaged in digging ; they took little 


or no notice of the visitors, to whose presence, pos- 
sibly, they were not unaccustomed. A few moments 
sufficed for the acquisition of the spoil, which was 
speedily concealed within the folds of two umbrellas, 
and the party left, outwardly calm in demeanour, but 
extremely anxious for a rapid and safe return to their 

Turner's influence for good upon his students was 
established upon a wider foundation than that of a 
teacher in the lecture-room. There he taught them 
a knowledge of anatomy, there he inculcated the 
importance of correctness of observation, of accuracy 
of thought, and of clearness of order and method — 
lessons of supreme moment to them in their life's 
work, far beyond their mere application to anatomical 
study. But his personality was to them an object- 
lesson of untiring industry and of indomitable per- 
severance and patience, and a striking example of 
how success was to be obtained, not by spasmodic 
and meteor - like outbursts of work, but by careful 
and continuous mental application. The example of 
his life appealed to them. Work and duty were 
his watchwords, and the men who failed to appre- 
ciate this aspect of his character had learned only 
half of what Turner could teach them. 

He stood as the embodiment of dignity and honour. 
Always courteous and gentlemanly, he dealt kindly 
with his students, and if, as happened at times, a 
man felt at the moment that he had been somewhat 
hardly used, reflection would lead him to realise that 
he had been treated with justice and fairness. He 
possessed a wonderful knowledge of the character of 
his pupils ; he knew both their weak and their strong 
points, and some of them would have been surprised 
had they realised how his shrewd insight had dis- 
covered some of their little failings which they liad 
no reason to suspect that he knew anything about. 
He took a very real interest in the welfare of his 


students, and many can recall little acts of kindnesR 
received at his hands. They recognised that behind 
a somewhat austere manner there was a strong vein 
of human sympathy. What he did for them was 
done in a quiet and unostentatious way, for Turner 
never courted popularity. On one occasion, recognis- 
ing the absence of one of his pupils, and fearing that 
illness might be the cause, he ascertained the address 
of his lodgings, and sent his Senior Demonstrator to 
call and find out the nature of the trouble. On 
another occasion, observing that a member of his 
class looked ill, he sent for him, inquired into his 
condition, and strongly urged upon him the neces- 
sity of a holiday. Turner commanded not only the 
respect but the affection of his students, the respect 
founded upon his integrity and sense of justice, the 
affection based upon his loyalty and human kindliness. 

The following incident exemplifying his kindness of 
heart is related by one who afterwards became a 
member of his staff of demonstrators and Professor 
of Anatomy in one of the English schools. At the 
close of the anatomical lecture, many of the students 
had crowded round the Professor's table in order to 
examine more closely some models on which Turner 
set considerable value. Mr Z., in endeavouring to 
obtain a better view, managed to tilt the table so that 
two of the models fell to the ground and were broken. 
The members of the class at once expressed their feel- 
ings of disapprobation in no uncertain manner, thus 
making the unhapp}'- student extremely uncomfortable. 
Turner said nothing. Shortly afterwards Mr Z. 
nervously entered the retiring-room in order to make 
his apologies. When he had finished. Turner looked 
at him and said : " It was you I felt sorry for, Mr Z." 
There was no rebuke, no recrimination. Mr Z. never 
forgot his first personal interview with his future 
chief, and he has always cherished the memory of 
that meetinir. 

Turner was ever indulgent in his attitude towards 


those of his students whom he found turning their 
minds seriously towards the study of Anatomy ; to 
them his encouragement and help were generously 

I shall not readily forget the stimulus which I received 
from him in recognition of my zeal when acting in the 
capacity of his prosector [writes William Turner (already 
mentioned)]. Although the incident occurred nearly half a 
century ago, it is still as fresh in my memory as an occurrence 
of yesterday. I had to prepare a somewhat elaborate dis- 
section for the lecture upon the following day. I worked at 
my task from midday all through the afternoon and evening, 
and when I had completed it I found it was nine o'clock. It 
was now dark, and to my horror I found that the door of 
exit had been locked and that I had no means of getting out. 
Eventually my calls for assistance were heard by a janitor who 
was making his evening round of the quadrangle. When listen- 
ing to the demonstration upon the following day, I felt more 
than fully repaid for all my trouble by hearing the Professor's 
highly eulogistic pronouncement to his audience of my handi- 
work. On another occasion I was asked to draw upon the 
blackboard a large outline of the hand, and fill in, in coloured 
chalks, a representation of the blood-supply of the hand and 
fingers. I took as a model my own hand, and I spent con- 
siderable pains upon the drawing. Before the lecture. Turner 
looked at it, first from one side and then from another, and 
turning to me he said : " I wonder whether it is possible that 
you may be related to the great artist of our own name ? " 

Turner used to speak of his pupils as his " family,' 
drawn from all parts of the world, and he considered 
himself very fortunate in the family, which numbered 
many thousands. When he was touring in (^anada 
and the United States in 1897, he was constantly 
reminded of the widespread character of these family 
ties. Whether in Quebec or in Montreal, in Ntnv 
York, at Niagara, or in the Adirondacks, members of 
the family frecjuently appeared and reintroduced them- 
selves to his notice : had his journeys led him to India 
or to Africa, to Australia or to New Zealand, the 
children would have been there to greet him. When 
the grandchildren began to come to his class, as in 


due course they did, his pleasure was further intensi- 
fied. While he gave much of his best to them, he 
was fully conscious of what they gave him in return. 
He realised that perpetual contact with fresh youth, 
year by year, had contributed to maintain his own 
mental vitality. Brought into touch as he was with 
young minds, expanding and opening out into fresh 
fields of activity, he was put upon his mettle and 
stimulated to meet their expansion, and, in this way, 
the young men parted with a portion of their youth 
and gave it to those who were their seniors. This he 
regarded as one of the greatest pleasures which a 
teacher could have. 

His wonderful memory enabled him to recognise, 
often without the least hesitation, men who had been 
his pupils many years before, and whom he had not 
met in the interval. Numerous examples might be 
cited in illustration of this. The power of recognition 
is a valuable asset and is one that ma}?^ be cultivated, 
but it is not given to many as a natural gift. He 
possessed, too, the faculty of recalling the name of an 
individual by recognising the tone of the voice. This 
was the more remarkable in him, as he had no ear for 
music, and could not retain in his mind any tuneful 
refrain. On one occasion he was conversing with a 
member of his staff in his retiring-room, the door of 
which was ajar. In the corridor a voice was heard 
inquiring whether Sir William was in the Department. 
Turner at once looked up and said : " That must be 

Dr , I know his voice. I have not seen him for 

twenty years." 

Evidence of the high esteem in w^hich he was held 
by his pupils and of the aifectiou which bound them 
to him, were demonstrated more than once during his 
long tenure (^f the Chair. Probably one of the most re- 
markable demonstrations of the mutual goodwill and 
sympathy which existed between Turner and his class 
was witnessed when, in March 1886, it was announced 



(From a photograph by J. Mokkat taken in 1803, 


that he had received the honour of Knighthood. He 
had no idea that such a distinction was under con- 
sideration, and the first intimation that Lord Salisbury- 
had placed his name before the Queen was conveyed 
to him in a letter from the Lord Advocate, Sir John 
H. A. Macdonald. Those who were present in the 
Anatomical theatre on the occasion of his return from 
Windsor cannot fail to remember the scene when 
Turner entered the class-room, which was densely 
crowded with an enthusiastic and cheering audience. 
When silence had been obtained, James Lorrain Smith, 
a member of the class, now Professor of Pathology in 
the University, read the following address of con- 
gratulation, signed on behalf of the Anatomy class by 
members of the Students' Representative Council of 
the first year of Medicine : — 

We, the students of the Anatomy class of the University 
of Edinburgh, have learned with the greatest pleasure 
that Her Most Gracious Majesty, Queen Victoria, has 
conferred on you the distinguished honour of Knighthood. 

It is the feeling of the Class that none but your own 
students can know how eminently worthy you are of 
this great honour, and we are emboldened to address to 
you our most hearty congratulations. 

We hear men, eminent in Biology, acknowledge you to 
be unsurpassed in your scientific powers and attainments, 
and of this we are highly proud. We, however, speak 
with authority when we tell you of our aftection for you 
and of our confidence in you as a teacher. It is felt by 
all of us that none of the intellectual privileges which 
we enjoy in this great University are to be put above the 
introduction to Medical Science which we receive at your 
hands, an introduction unique in its combined depth and 

We would express our indebtedness for the splendid 
equipment for medical teaching which you have, with 
unceasing care, provided for us, while we also acknow- 
ledge the distinguished services to scientitic education 
which have brought you this latest honour. 

We trust that, for a long time to come, you may be 
enabled to continue the work in which you have been so 
worthily engaged for thirty-two years, and that our 


successors may have many further opportunities of 
rejoicing with you as we do now. 

Presented on behalf of the Anatomy Class, 
Edinburgh University, March 1886. 

Sir William, considerably affected by the warmth 
of the demonstration accorded to him, made the 
following reply : — 

Mr Lorrain Smith and Gentlemen, — I have been reminded 
in this address of the number of years that I have served the 
students of the University, thirty-two years, a large slice out 
of one's lifetime. On many occasions I have had the pleasure 
and gratification of receiving from your predecessors expres- 
sions of their good feeling and goodwill towards me, but so 
absolutely overpowering a demonstration as you have given 
me to-day I certainly never dreamed of being a party to. I 
little thought that there would have been so strong a feeling 
amongst the students of this University as you have just 
given expression to in connection with the honour, the dis- 
tinction, which the Queen has been graciously pleased to 
bestow upon me. I am happy to think that this action of 
Her Majesty is so thoroughly understood by those of you 
amongst whom I spend my daily life, and who have, therefore, 
the best means of knowing the kind of work that one performs 
daily. When a communication was made to me a few weeks 
ago by the Member for the University, then Her Majesty's 
Lord Advocate for Scotland, that it was intended to submit 
my name to the Queen for the distinction which has just been 
conferred on me, it was put to me in this form, that it was 
desired to show some recognition, if I may so say, of the 
University and of the work that was being done in the 
University, by conferring a distinction upon one of its Pro- 
fessors. Thus, I look upon this matter not merely as a 
distinction conferred upon me personally, but also as evidence 
of the desire that the University should, so far as a matter of 
this kind can show it, have some public recognition. I felt, 
therefore, that it was my duty as one of the teaching staff to 
accept at once and without any hesitation or dubiety the 
honour which it was proposed to confer upon me. You have 
now received me, and received me in a way such as certainly, 
when I came down from London last night, it never for one 
moment occurred to me would be characterised by the extra- 
ordinary enthusiasm which you have displayed, and, as I 


have already stated, it is the most complete endorsement of 
what has been done that could possibly have taken place. 
Looking back more than thirty-two years, looking back to the 
days when I was a schoolboy, I recollect that, when any great 
event occurred, it was always expected that the occasion 
should be celebrated b}' what is called a holiday. I do not 
know whether you are sufficiently advanced bej^ond the 
schoolboy age as to feel that I should be — well, not sufficiently 
recognising your manhood, if I abstained from suggesting 
that, on this occasion, I would follow out the old schoolroom 
example, and so, with your permi-ssion, we will not have a 
lecture to-day. You can easily imagine that it would be 
no very easy task for me to enter into the details of an 
anatomical description after the state of mental exaltation in 
which this reception has placed me, and accordingly you will, 
I hope, allow me to defer what I was intending to say upon 
the anatomy of the spinal cord. I have only to thank you 
for this marvellously warm reception, and, with your permis- 
sion, I shall say good-bye to you until to-morrow. 

The news of the distinction conferred upon him 
gave the greatest pleasure to his friends, and he was 
the recipient of many congratulatory letters. A letter 
from his friend Mr William McEwan, M.P., is not 
without interest as an expression of his opinion 
regarding the general distribution of honours. 

London, March 1886. 

I see from ' The Scotsman ' that you are home, and met 
yesterday with an entliusiastic reception from ^'■our students. 
Am I not a true prophet ? 

As they feel, so will all riglit-minded men who know you, 
feel in regard to the honour which has been conferred upon 
you. As to what the small minded and envious may feel, you 
need give your.self no concern, for such people are really of 
no account in the grand movements of the world. 

When I see distinctions thrown about with reckless pro- 
fusion, and nobodies attempting by their aid to become some- 
body, it is a positive pleasure and relief to see modest merit 

No act of the late Government has given me so much 
pleasure as the conferring of this honour upon you. I hope 
to see you soon, and with kindest regards and best wishes, 
I am, Wm. McEwax. 


The further distinction of Knight Commander of 
the Order of the Bath was bestowed upon him by Her 
Majesty Queen Victoria, in December 1900. Owing to 
the death of the Queen early in the following year, he 
received the insignia of the Order at the hands of 
King Edward VIL, on February 13, 1901. 

Evidence of the esteem and affection in which he 
was held by his colleagues and former pupils was 
again demonstrated in April 1895, when they pre- 
sented him with his portrait, painted by Sir George 
Reid, President of the Royal Scottish Academy. The 
portrait, a three-quarter length, depicts Sh* William 
in academic robes, standing in an attitude somewhat 
characteristic of him when teaching, with which Sir 
George had familiarised himself by more than one visit 
to the lecture theatre. The picture shows Reid's 
work at its best. 

The presentation was very appropriately made in 
the anatomical theatre in the presence of a large 
gathering of colleagues and friends. Sir James 
Russell, who, along with Professor Cunningham and 
Professor Chiene, had formed the portrait committee, 
occupied the chair. The chairman expressed the feel- 
ings of his audience when he said that they were 
grateful to Turner for his conspicuous services to 
their Alma Mater. They were tied to him by gratitude 
for what he had done for themselves, for his kindly 
offices of friendship, assistance, and wise counsel, and 
they were all bound to him by feelings of regard 
which had increased with years. 

Sir William, in accepting the gift, reminded his 
friends that the period of the year selected for the 
presentation of the picture was of special significance 
to himself It was the month in which he had been 
married, and it was the month in which, twenty-eight 
years before, he had been called to the Chair of 
Anatomy. The occasion, he felt, was a fitting one for 
him to acknowledge publicly the honours which he 

Pkoikssok sir WILLIAM TIRXKR. 

[From the painting by the late Sir George Reid, P.R.S.A.. 
presented in 1895 by his colleages and old pupils. 


had received from his colleagues, and the confidence 
which they had always reposed in him. They might 
think that he was biassed by his professional pursuits, 
but he had sometimes thought that a sound anatomical 
education, if there was added to it some experience in 
the teaching of the subject, was one of the very best 
preparations for a business career. There was nothing 
which conduced so much to methodical and orderly 
habits of classification and arrangement of facts, to 
clearness of thought and precision of expression, as a 
course of teaching of anatomy. It had been a source 
of pleasure to him to see old pupils and assistants 
taking an active part in public life, and he could cite 
no better example than that of their chairman, who 
had been chosen by his fellow-citizens to occupy the 
highest civic appointment, and they knew how thor- 
oughly, conscientiously, and well he had filled it. 

One or two of the numerous letters which he 
received on this occasion may appropriately be quoted 
here. The pleasure which the "sittings" afforded to 
Sir George Reid was shared by Turner, who found the 
tedium of posing, sometimes for two consecutive hours, 
very much lightened by the conversational gifts of the 
painter. As an anatomist, too, he was particularly 
Interested in the way in which Sir George worked 
upon his picture. 

22 Royal Terrace, Edinburgh, 
April Zrd, 1895. 

Dear Sir William, — Many thanks for your kind note. 
I am glad to learn that everything went oflf so well yesterday 
afternoon, and that your friends were all so well pleased with 
your portrait. 

The sittings were very pleasant, and I felt a touch of regret 
when they came to an end. I did sometimes feel very sorry 
for your poor backbone. 

I tried to spare it as much as posssible. 

We have had influenza victims also, and we are still rather 
poor creatures. I hope you will have a pleasant hoHday. 

G. W. Reid. 


Trinity College, Dublin, 
March Zlst, 1895. 

My dear Cunningham, — Will you kindly express to the 
meeting of the Turner portrait subscribers my regret that 
I cannot assist in person at the presentation. 

During our Tercentenary celebration in Trinity College in 
1892, it occurred to a distinguished Scotsman to proclaim in 
Dublin that he was an honest man. No one doubted the fact, 
but we all doubted the good taste of the declaration, and none 
more so than Sir William Turner, who roundly asserted that 
he also was an honest man. 

It fell to my lot to explain this difficulty, and to state the 
opinion of Trinity College that they were both honest men. 

The highest of all authority is in favour of a blend of the 
wisdom of the serpent and the harmlessness of the dove, say 
90 per cent harmlessness and 10 per cent wisdom. This 
appears to me about the composition of our dear friend Sir 
William, whom may God bless and preserve " ad multos 
annos." Saml. Haughton. 

28 Rodney Street, Liverpool, 
April \st, 1895. 

My dear Cunningham, — I am sorry that I cannot come 
to-morrow to the presentation. The truth is I am commanded 
to London by a certain painter, who is doing my portrait for 
my old pupils, to be placed in University College here. I 
therefore sympathise most heartily with Sir William, both 
in the pleasure which he must feel at this gift from his 
students, and in the sense of freedom which he must have in 
being delivered from the painful martyrdom of the " sitter." 

My acquaintance with him reaches a long waj'' back, even 
unto 1859, when I lirst beheld him helping along our old 
master, Goodsir — that intellectual and physical giant, whose 
tottering limbs would scarce bear the burden of his gigantic 

Intimate as Turner and I have been and are, I still have, 
in the background, just the slightest possible shade of awe of 
him. If one man has ever taught another man the femur, 
the second man knows that, however close their relations 
may be, there is a great gulf fixed between them, which will 
never be bridged over — no, not if they were to live side by 
side for a hundred years. 

Talking of men teaching each other, I remember a curious 


little incident at the lunch table of the General Medical 

Four men were sitting together. One of them, Matthews 
Duncan, said, " Turner, I taught you." 

" Yes," said Turner, " I did attend your class, and I taught 

And I, turning to the man on ray right, said, " Yes, and 
I taught Hector Cameron." 

I have purposely avoided pronouncing a panegyric upon 
Sir William. Don't we all know him — what he is and what 
he has done ? "A life so arduous and so devoted to duty 
cannot fail to realise even the dream of Cicero." 

W. Mitchell Banks. 

Moat House, Dumfries, 
March 31«^, 1895. 

Dear Sir William, — I much regret that I cannot be in 
Edinburgh on Tuesday to be present at the presentation of 
your portrait. 

It is an excellent likeness and does great credit to the 
artist, who, I think, should be content to go down to posterity 
on the hem of your garment, as Reynolds said when he painted 
Mrs Siddons. 

I prefer the original to all images, and therefore I wish you 
to continue with us in health and prosperity for many years 
to come. 

I have just had a very handsome presentation made to 
Mrs M'Kie and myself from the citizens of my native town. 

Thomas M'Kie. 




Rise and Fall of the Anatomical class — Cosmopolitan character of 
the University — Turner's Demonstrators — Pupils who became 
Professsors of Anatomy — Anatomy in the Extra-Mural School 
— Resignation of the Chair. 

A PERUSAL of Turner's class returns reveals the fact 
that from 1867 to 1903, a period of thirty-six years, 
covering his tenure of the Chair, 10,500 names were 
entered upon the roll of attendance at the ana- 
tomical lectures. It is necessary to take the returns 
of the Lecture Class as a basis upon which to 
estimate the number of individual students who passed 
through his hands, because they represent more or less 
accurately the students of the first year. The returns 
made from the class of Practical Anatomy, on the other 
hand, include students of the first, second, and third 
years of medical study, and cannot therefore be used 
for this purpose. The total of 10,500, however, gives 
only approximately the size of " the family," because 
a certain proportion of the men attended a second 
course. Hence the same name appears more than 
once on the class lists ; some students, on the other 
hand, worked only in the dissecting - rooms and 
attended the lectures of one of the extra - mural 
teachers, consequently their names do not appear in 
the class returns. 


In the winter of 1867-68, Turner lectured in 
Goodsir's theatre in the University Old Buildings to a 
class of 210 men. The returns for the practical classes 
were 217. The numbers increased steadily, until in 
the year 1880-81, the class reached its maximum 
figure of 341. It was fortunate that, in 1880, the 
Anatomical Department in the New Medical School 
in Teviot Place was opened, because in that year, the 
number of students working in the dissecting-rooms 
during the winter session reached the unprecedented 
total of 633, a figure which was surpassed on only 
one occasion, when in the winter of 1885-86, 636 
names were enrolled. The strain thrown on the teach- 
ing staff and on the supply of material for dissection 
during the days of great prosperity in the Edinburgh 
School was a severe one, especially in the dissecting- 
rooms. The lowest attendance registered in the 
lecture class was in the winter of 1898-99, when 
the number fell to 179. The minimum number work- 
ing in the "Rooms" was 207, recorded in the winter 
of 1900-1. 

The study of the comparative figures furnished by 
the returns from the Anatomical Department during 
the three decennial periods between 1870 and 1900, 
is full of interest as throwing some light upon the 
growth, maintenance, and decline of the Edinburgh 
Medical School during these years. At the same time, 
they offer an opportunity for speculating upon the 
main causes which led, first, to the marked increase, 
and later on, to a decrease in the number of students 
entering the School. During the decennial period 
1870-1880, 3350 students attended the Anatomical 
Lectures, thus averaging annually 335, while the 
average annual winter attendance in the dissecting- 
rooms during the same period was 420. From 1880 
to 1890, 3635 enrolled in the lecture class, while the 
returns from the practical classes during the winter 
were never below 500, and in five of the years they 
exceeded 600. In the decade 1890 to 1900, a very 



considerable reduction took place, the returns from 
the lecture class giving a yearly average of 217, 
while the average winter attendance in the dissect- 
ing-rooms fell to 324. Turner continued to teach 
during the first three years of a fourth decennial 
period, when a steady improvement in enrolment 
again took place. 

The number of students who matriculated in the 
Faculty of Medicine during the same decennial periods 
may be referred to very briefly, as serving to 
emphasise the varying fortunes of the University 
already indicated by the above figures, and, at the 
same time, it permits of a comparison being made 
between the enrolment in Edinburgh and that of the 
Universities of Glasgow and Aberdeen. The students 
of medicine in Edinburgh more than trebled between 
1870 and 1890, when the maximum of 2003 was 
reached, while during the third decade there was a 
steady diminution. The Medical Faculties in Glasgow 
and Aberdeen were passing through a similar experi- 
ence, and the subjoined table shows the relative 
position in the three Universities. 


Showing Number op Medical Students Matriculating 
IN THE Three Universities. 

Year. Edinburgh. Glasgow. Aberdeen. 

1870-71 659 320 189 

1880-81 1585 563 335 

1889-90 2003 800 433 

1891-92 (Year of Aberdeen maximum) 472 

1893-94 1616 680 405 

1899-1900 1364 611 325 

(Women students who were required to matriculate in order to 
obtain the degrees in Medicine and Surgery are not included in 
these figures.) 

Can any explanation be offered to account for the 
remarkable growth of the Scottish Medical Schools 
during the seventies and eighties of last century ? It 


is reasonable to assume that, between 1870 and 1880, 
the increase was a natural consequence of the demand 
to meet the growing necessities of the nation. Be- 
tween 1871 and 1881, the population of England and 
Wales had increased by more than three million in- 
dividuals, while in Scotland, in the same period, there 
was an addition of 375,550. During the eighties, it 
is possible that still another factor played its part 
in contributing to the further development of the 
Schools, which culminated at the end of the decade, 
namely, the depression in trade. It is interesting to 
note Turner's own reflections upon the subject, and it 
is evident from his correspondence that the question 
was frequently in his thoughts. Writing to his 
friend. Professor D. J. Cunningham of Trinity College, 
Dublin, in November 1890, he says: "Our classes 
are down this year, both in Arts and Medicine. I 
fancy that the improvement in trade is attracting 
young men into business rather than into the pro- 
fessions." It is not easy to calculate with any 
measure of certainty the influence of fluctuations in 
trade upon men's choice of a career, but the opinion 
expressed in his letter has been shared by others. 
Commercial ramifications being so numerous, it is 
somewhat diflicult to determine what basis should be 
taken for making a suitable estimate regarding trade 
fluctuations. If the figures dealing with imports and 
exports into and from the United Kingdom be 
accepted as an index of trade conditions, then we 
find that during the years 1880-86, the trade of the 
country showed a very considerable decline upon the 
conditions which existed between 1871-80. In 1889, 
and in the early nineties, a distinct improvement was 
again manifest. It is possible, therefore, that Turner's 
surmise as to the effect of varying trade conditions 
may hav^e some justification. 

When we come to consider the continued decline 
of the Medical School durincr the third decennial 
period, it is possible to stand upon firmer ground 


and to assign more definite reasons for the same. The 
Universities (Scotland) Act, 1889, came into operation 
on January 1, 1890. In the meantime, the Com- 
missioners appointed under the Act, with Lord 
Kinnear as chairman, prepared and issued certain 
Ordinances which became operative in 1892. From 
their nature they were certain to exercise undoubted 
influence upon the number of men who might be 
considering the question of studying Medicine. The 
standard of the preliminary examination in General 
Education, which was in future to be conducted by the 
Joint Board of Examiners, was raised. The ordinary 
course of instruction in Medicine was to be extended 
from four to five years. Physics was to become a 
compulsory subject of study and of examination for 
graduation, and was to be included in the subjects 
of the First Professional Examination. 

The first two changes — one, necessitating a higher 
standard of preliminary education, the other, demand- 
ing an increased educational expenditure and an 
additional delay of one year before the student was 
in a position to earn his means of livelihood — would 
necessarily deter a certain proportion of young men 
from entering the medical profession. The introduc- 
tion of Physics into the early part of the curriculum 
would, in all probability, influence the attendance of 
first year's students upon the class of Anatomy, as 
there would be a tendency for them to devote all 
their time to the subjects of the First Professional 

Writing to Cunningham early in the winter session 
of 1892-93, Turner again reverts to the question. His 
class had fallen to 189, the smallest hitherto recorded 
during his professorship, while the number of first 
year's students matriculating in medicine was 217. 

I have delayed my repl}'- to yours of October 6th until I 
could say something definite about my winter's class. The 
entry, although not completed, is now sufficiently advanced 
to enable me to form an estimate of what it is likely to be, 


and it looks as if the fall will be nearly 40 per cent in 
numbers as compared with last year. This arises : (a) from 
a general diminution in the number of first year's men, owing 
to the five years' system and the more stringent preliminary 
examination ; (h) from the addition of Physics, making the 
Preliminary Scientific Examination more onerous and keeping 
men away from Anatomy during the first year. 

So far as I can at present judge, it appears as if only the 
first year's men who are studying Anatomy are those who 
began Medicine in summer and have disposed of Botany and 
Natural History, and a few who, having passed the Pre- 
liminary Examination before the new statutes came into 
force, rank under the old regulations. 

I am afraid that the efiect of the new statutes will be to 
squeeze Anatomy out of the first year and to throw men into 
Physiology ignorant of Human Anatomy. 

A matter for consideration, therefore, is whether something 
cannot be done in the way of a short course of Elementary 
Anatomy to precede attendance on Physiology. I confess 
that I do not at present see my way to a good arrangement, 
but the experience of the winter may perhaps help me to 
a conclusion. 

During the three years preceding Turner's retire- 
ment in J 903, a gradual improvement took place, 
suggesting that the School had begun to recover from 
the first effects produced by the new Ordinances. In 
1900, he comments upon the subject in another letter 
to Cunningham : — 

I have now been lecturing for two weeks, and my class is 
turning out very well ; it will be larger than during the last 
two or three years. It looks as if the schools were now 
working the boys up to the standard of the University 
Preliminary Examination, I observe that in London, Cam- 
bridge, Manchester, and Liverpool, the numbers are down. 

If this inquiry be taken a stage further, we come 
to the period of development of the modern Provincial 
Universities of England and to the Irish Education 
Act of 1908. Although they post-date Turner's pro- 
fessorial life, the subject is not unworthy of attention 
in its bearing upon the Scottish Universities. The 
University of Birmingham was founded in 1900, that 


of Liverpool in 1903, and in the same year the 
Victoria University of Manchester was reconstituted. 
The University of Leeds was founded in 1904, Sheffiel<l 
in 1905, and Bristol in 1909. The changes brought 
about by the Irish Education Act had given Ireland 
in 1909, a University College in Dublin, and had 
raised the Queen's College, Belfast, to the status of 
a University. The medical schools of these cities thus 
came to rank as Universities, and it is reasonable to 
suppose that they might prove a greater attraction 
to young men seeking a degree, than they had done 
in their previous status as Colleges. 

In a speech which Turner made to the members 
of the Manchester Edinburgh University Club after 
his appointment as Principal in 1903, he dwelt upon 
the causes of the development of the modern English 
Universities. Looking back over the long vista of 
seventy years, he was impressed with the great 
changes that had taken place in University education 
in this country. The change was so marked that it 
amounted almost to a revolution of the educational 
thought of the British Isles. Instead of there being 
only the ancient Universities of Oxford and Cam- 
bridge, followed by the Universities of Durham and 
London, there were now the Universities of Man- 
chester, Birmingham, Liverpool, and Leeds, and the 
College in Sheffield was about to take University 
rank. What did this mean ? It meant that the 
conception of University education in this country 
was absolutely different from what it was sixty years 
ago. It meant that there had been an enormous 
development of public thought in the matter. It 
meant that the Universities were to be something 
more than schools of training for clergymen, barristers, 
schoolmasters, country gentlemen, and the like. In 
the old days in England, the Universities, practically 
speaking, did not touch the great middle class. Where 
were they to go for a University degree? They 
went to Scotland, to Edinburgh, "to Glasgow, and 


some went as far north as Aberdeen. No one had 
contributed more to the present view of University 
education and education in England, than the Scottish 
graduates. It was the Scottish graduate who im- 
pressed upon the people of England the necessity of 
widening their view of University education, and it 
was the Scottish Universities which furnished the 
bulk of the teaching staff of the modern English 
Universities. Here, then, was an example of the 
influence of the Scottish University on English thought, 
and for that they had reason to be proud. 

Being equipped with complete Faculties of Medi- 
cine and granting degrees in Medicine and Surgery, 
have the new Universities as yet made their influence 
felt upon the returns of the Edinburgh Medical 
School ? Turner recognised that they would certainly 
have an eflect upon the advent of Englishmen to 
Scotland. Speaking at Leeds in 1907, he said : "The 
institution of Universities in so many great English 
cities will affect the stream of migration from pro- 
vincial England to London, to Edinburgh, and to the 
other Scottish Universities. But while we cannot 
look for the same flow of Yorkshire and Lancashire 
men to Edinburgh, yet these two counties will find 
that many young Scotsmen will go southward to 
settle there, where they will find happy hunting- 
grounds, — a large population, great industries, activity 
of life, accumulation of money — thither young Scots- 
men will go." 

The following table has been compiled from the 
figures published annually by the University, and 
shows at a glance the number of students matricu- 
lating in Medicine and the countries from which they 
have come. The year 1898 has been introduced, as 
it precedes the decade in which the provincial English 
Schools took University rank, and serves therefore as 
a basis for comparison. The outbreak of the European 
War in 1914 has prevented any later observations 
from being made. 




Illustrating the Number of Medical Students Matriculating 
IN Edinburgh University, and the Countries from which 




O o 



England and 




o a 











(42% of whole) 

(27 % of whole) 



(16% of whole) 




1 677 








































i 563 

(43% of whole) 


(17 % of whole) 



(22% of whole) 


It is obvious from the table that, when the entries 
from England and Wales in 1898 are compared with 
those of 1913, there is not only an actual reduction 
of 143 in the number of students matriculating, but 
there is a proportional fall of 10 per cent in their 
relation to the total entry of students in medicine. 
The number of students entering from Scotland, on 
the other hand, shows only a reduction of twenty-one. 
If the year 1905 be compared with 1913, thus allowing 
time for the changed conditions in England to produce 
their etfect, we find that the fall in entries is practi- 
cally the same from both countries — slightly over 100 
from each. While the figures are undoubtedly in- 
teresting when studied from this point of view, it 
would be unreasonable to attribute the decline in the 
English entries to the new Universities, especially 
when the period under consideration is so short. 
Notwithstanding the introduction in 1902-3 of the 
Carnegie Scheme for the financial assistance of Scottish 
students, the entries from Scotland between that year 
and 1913, show a decrease of 114. 


The table further shows a falling- off in the number 
of students entering from Ireland subsequent to 1909, 
the year in which Queen's College, Belfast, took 
University rank. The entries from India and from 
the Overseas Dominions have increased during the 
period under discussion, the improvement in the 
returns from the Dominions being mainly due to 
the increased number of men coming from South 
Africa after the termination of the Boer War. It 
is chiefly as the result of the increase in the 
number of men entering from India and South 
Africa, that the proportion of non-Scottish students 
attending the medical classes in Edinburgh has 
been maintained. It is quite obvious, from a 
study of the various figures that have just been 
recorded, that periods of prosperity in the School 
alternate with periods which are less prosperous. 
Certain definite reasons have been brought forward 
in an attempt to explain the fluctuations, but other 
causes are doubtless at work. A Medical School may 
suffer from being too successful. It may attract so 
many men that its teaching facilities are unable to 
cope with the demand that is made upon them, and 
the inevitable result follows. The reputation of a 
School, too, cannot always be maintained at the 
same high level without the exercise of very 
considerable effort and care, and a danger un- 
doubtedly lies in the possibility of maintaining a 
too complacent satisfaction with the successes of the 

The cosmopolitan character of the University al- 
ways appealed strongly to Turner, and he frequently 
made reference to it. In spite of the increasing 
provision which was being made in the Overseas 
Dominions for the training of students, he main- 
tained the belief that their young men would continue 
to come to Edinburgh, as they had always done in the 


The University herself is more than 300 years old, and her 
faculty of Medicine dates from 1725. Early in her career 
she was a local University, and her students were entirely 
Scotsmen. Still she prospered, and the students increased in 
numbers. But when in 1745, the year of the Jacobite rising, 
she suffered from the effects of the Civil war, they greatly 
diminished. When the country had once more become settled, 
they again flocked to her doors. Then commenced the period 
when the Colonials came to the city for their medical educa- 
tion. In the year 1760, thirteen students were recorded in the 
books as Americans, and in those days this meant students 
from the colonies which in course of time grew into the 
United States of America. With the Declaration of Inde- 
pendence in 1776, there was a change, and in 1779, the 
American students fell to four. But when the war was 
over and peace was restored, they came once more from 
the United States to this country, and in 1784, twenty-four 
enrolled in the University of Edinburgh, and at the same 
time, both the West and the East Indies became represented. 
The University had begun to enlarge her boundaries. 

Between that date and the commencement of the nine- 
teenth century, the American students gradually diminished 
in numbers. By that time they were beginning to found 
Universities of their own, and this process continued through- 
out the century, and Edinburgh graduates contributed largely 
to their foundation. The University of Pennsylvania was 
founded by Edinburgh students, and in the Carolinas it was 
recognised that the same element was at work. At the be- 
ginning of the nineteenth century, too, our Colonial relations 
commenced. With the names which now appeared on our 
roll-books you are all familiar — Canada, Nova Scotia, New 
Brunswick, and Newfoundland. The students from the 
parts of the great American continent which continued under 
the British flag, gave as their native places the particular 
part of the territory from which they came, and numbers 
of them were enrolled under these designations. 

The University continued to extend her boundaries. In 
1821, a student enrolled himself as from New South Wales. 
That was our first connection with the great Australian terri- 
tory. In 1825, a student matriculated from the Cape of 
(rood Hope. These were the swallows in the early spring 
which heralded the approach of summer. They were the 
swallows which presaged what flocks of young men were 
to come from Australasia and the Cape to the northern citv 
to receive their education. Will this continue ? It is a 


matter which we have to consider very carefully, because 
these 3''oung men who go back to their homes at once begin 
to feel that the Dominions themselves should have Uni ver- 
ities, so that they may train their own men there; and 
Edinburgh graduates have contributed largely to the founda- 
tion of Universities in Canada and Australasia. In Montreal 
and Toronto, in Sydney and Melbourne, and in Dunedin, many 
pupils of my own hold important teaching positions. We can 
claim the University of Sydney in the largest sense as one of 
our children, and we may fairly claim that the University of 
Edinburgh has done something to cement the stones of the 
British Empire. Will that association continue ? I believe 
that it will. I believe that there are good, solid, educational 
reasons why the University should keep its place as a great 
colonial University. The Scotsman, too, is a wandering being. 
He does not like to sit quietly in his own land when money 
and position are to be obtained elsewhere. He finds fertile 
fields abroad. But he does not always want to remain out- 
side his native land, and if it does so happen that he cannot 
liimself conveniently come back, he likes to send his children, 
and naturally he sends them to the capital of his native 

During the long period of his professorship, Turner 
had many assistants, who ably and loyally helped hiui 
to carry on the work of his Department. The good- 
fellowship which was establislied between them and 
him did not cease when their relations were severed 
by their promotion to other spheres of work, and, in 
some instances, the acquaintanceships formed devel- 
oped into lifelong friendships. When tbey sought 
liis advice as to their future course of action, he 
gave them of his best, and he used all his influence 
to promote their applications for teaching or other 

Upon his succession to the Chair, he gave the post 
of Senior Demonstrator to Mr Cliiene, who had previ- 
ously acted as one of Goodsir's staff. Chiene's inclina- 
tions, however, lay in the direction of surgery, and, in 

' Sir William Turner. Speech at lunclieon to the C'oh>iiiaI Prtmieii*, 


the summer of 1870, he left the Anatomical Depart- 
ment and commenced a course of operative surgery 
at old Minto House. From his chief he learned some- 
thing more than Anatomy, so he has told us. "I 
learned many things for which I am thankful, and 
one of the most useful to me has been deference and 
kindliness to any one ignorant of his work." 

In due course the two men became colleagues, 
Chiene being elected in 1882 to the Chair of Surgery 
on the death of Speuce. Later on, when, on his pro- 
motion to the Principalship, Turner again assumed 
the role of chief, their public relations once more 
reverted to what they had been in earlier days ; but 
there was never any change in the mutual esteem 
and regard which they entertained towards each 
other. After Chiene's retirement, Turner was a 
frequent visitor at " Aithernie," Chiene's country 
house, a few miles out of Edinburgh. Turner's last 
call, ten days before his death, was a visit to David- 
son's Mains, where he spent an hour with Mr and 
Mrs Chiene and with their next - door neighbours, 
his old friends, Mr and Mrs Lawrence Guthrie. 

Morrison Watson, who had been associated with 
Chiene as Junior Demonstrator, succeeded to the 
Senior post, which he held till 1875, when he was 
appointed Professor of Anatomy at Owens College, 
Manchester. Morrison Watson married Lady Turner's 
youngest sister, and he was the first of Turner's assist- 
ants to receive an anatomical Chair. His career was 
cut short by a fatal illness in 1885. 

James A. Russell was Watson's junior colleague on 
the staff for four years, and, after holding the senior 
appointment for one year, he resigned in 1876. Like 
other men who have graduated in medicine, he turned 
his attention later to public affairs, and became a 
member of the Town Council of Edinburgh, by whom 
his work was duly recognised in 1891, by his appoint- 
ment to the Lord Provostship of the city. Sir James 
Russell continued to maintain his connection with his 


Alma Mater until his death in 1918, as his office of 
Inspector of Anatomy for Scotland brought him into 
frequent touch with the Anatomical Department. 
Like Chiene and Watson, he had been a pupil of 
Goodsir's, while Turner was Demonstrator. With his 
departure, the last of Goodsir's students severed his 
connection with the teaching staff. 

In 1875, D. J. Cunningham was invited to join the 
teaching staff, and he became Senior Demonstrator 
when Russell retired. He held the appointment 
until 1883, when he went to teach Anatomy at the 
Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. He took an 
important part in the removal of the Department 
to the New Buildings in Teviot Place, and in the 
arrangement of the rooms for the purposes of teach- 
ing. " It was during his period of office as Demon- 
strator," to quote the words of his old master, "that 
Cunningham gave evidence of the administrative 
ability, power of organisation, general business quaH- 
tications, clearness of expression as a teacher, and 
the possession of the scientific and practical grasp 
of his subject, which placed him in the front rank 
of Professors of Anatomy in the British Islands." 
When the Edinburgh Chair fell vacant in 1903, 
there was no doubt upon whom the succession 
should fall, and Cunningham was unanimously wel- 
comed to the scene of his earlier labours. " He was 
essentially an active man, firm in purpose, and true 
to his convictions ; but associated with his strong 
nature was a gentleness of character and a power 
of persuasiveness which attracted all who were 
brought into contact with him. It was impossible 
to quarrel with one whose language was always 
temperate, whose honour was unquestioned, and 
whose conduct, both public and private, was not influ- 
enced by self-seeking or a desire for applause." ^ His 
premature death in June 1909, robbed the Edinburgh 
Medical School of one whom it was ill able to spare. 

' Obituary notice by Sir William Turner. 


Mention must also be made of Arthur Thomson and 
David Hepburn, both of whom occupied the position 
of Senior Demonstrator. The former held the appoint- 
ment from 1883 to 1885, when he left for Oxford to 
become first, Reader, and then Professor of Anatomy 
in the University. Through his energy and inspira- 
tion he has created a Department of which Oxford is 
justly proud. Although Thomson's rapid promotion 
cut short his association with his chief, it was sufiScient 
to lay the foundation of a lifelong intimacy which the 
passage of time served only to increase. 

Hepburn, who succeeded him, retained the senior post 
for sixteen years, remaining with Turner as his right- 
hand man until his retirement from the Chair, render- 
ing him much material assistance in the later years of 
his professorship, during a time when his manifold 
duties necessitated his having an experienced assistant. 

But the staff of the Anatomical Department would 
remain incomplete if no reference were made to James 
Simpson, the successor to A. B. Stirling, as assistant 
Curator of the Museum. He was the " non-com- 
missioned officer " of the Department, and the fidus 
Achates of his master. Obliging, gentle, unassuming, 
proud of the Museum and jealously guarding its pos- 
sessions, "Jimmy" Simpson was a many-sided man. 
He was clever with his hands, had a genius for 
mounting specimens, and was gifted with the spirit 
of research. He was the first to identify the remains 
of the reindeer in Scotland, and was a recognised 
authority on the salmon fungus and on the causation 
of disease in the grouse. 

In the later years of the nineteenth century, Edin- 
burgh, as an educational centre, was about to repeat 
what she had previously done while the century was 
still young, by sending out her sons to reinforce other 
seats of learning. Sir Charles Bell had migrated to 
London in 1804 to teach Anatomy : William Sharpey, 
in 1836, became the first occupant of the Chair of 


Anatomy and Physiology at University College : 
Martin Barry lectured on Physiology at 8t Thomas' 
Hospital : Allen Thomson became Professor of Ana- 
tomy in Aberdeen for a short period, and John Reid 
held the same position in St Andrews. In the pro- 
fession of surgery, London was further enriched by 
what she received from the northern metropolis. 
Robert Liston was made Professor of Clinical Surgery 
at University College in 1835, and, on his death, 
James Syme accepted the vacant Chair, which he 
occupied for a few months. Sir William Fergusson was 
elected Professor of Surgery at King's College in 1840. 
But University College and St Bartholomew's Hospital 
more than repaid the debt by sending Joseph Lister 
and William Turner to Scotland in the early fifties. 

It has been the experience of few men, however, 
and certainly of none in this country, to have taken 
so large a share in the training and providing of 
teachers of Anatomy who, in their turn, became else- 
where professors of the subject. Turner's record in 
this respect is certainly unique, and it was a record 
which gave him a great deal of pleasure. No fewer 
than twenty-three Chairs, including the succession to 
his own, came to be occupied by men who had received 
their anatomical training in Edinburgh at Turner's 
hands. All of them had been his pupils, and sixteen 
had served on his staff of Demonstrators. With the 
development of the younger schools of medicine both 
at home and in the Dominions, the necessity arose of 
obtaining the services of teachers well trained in the 
scientific subjects. It was not unnatural that Edin- 
burgh, with her outstanding reputation as a School of 
Anatomy, should be asked to assist in providing the 
n)en to fill the teaching appointments. Their names 
are arranged here as far as possible in chronological 
sequence. To Owens College, Manchester, she gave 
Morrison Watson, and his successor Alfred Harry 
Young. To Otago University, New Zealand, John 
Halliday Scott. To Trinity College, Dublin, Daniel 


John Cunningham, who afterwards succeeded Turner 
in Edinburgh. To the Queen's University, Belfast, 
Johnson Symington. To the University of Tokio, 
Japan, F. Dyce Eraser. To the University of Oxford, 
Arthur Thomson. To the University of Sydney, J. F. 
Wilson. To King's College, London, and later to the 
University of Birmingham, Arthur Robinson, the 
present occupant of the Anatomical Chair in Edin- 
burgh, in succession to Cunningham. To the Univer- 
sity of Liverpool, A. M. Paterson. To the University 
of Durham, Robert Howden. To the Lahore College, 
India, and subsequently to University College, Dun- 
dee, J. C. Lamont. To the University of Toronto, 
Alexander Primrose. To the University of St 
Andrews, James Musgrove, succeeded in turn by 
David Waterston, who had taken Robinson's place 
at King's College. To the University of Bristol, 
Edward Fawcett. To the University of Glasgow, 
T. H. Bryce. To University College, Cardiff, David 
Hepburn. To Melbourne University, Richard J. A. 
Berry. To the University of Leeds, J. K. Jamieson. 
To M'Gill University, Montreal, A. Campbell Geddes 
(Sir Auckland Geddes, K.C.B.) To the University of 
Cape Town, T. B. Johnston. 

iDhe Edinburgh School and the teaching of the 
Monros, of Goodsir, and of Turner have thus spread 
their influence widely over the globe. 

A striking testimony to Turner's position as the 
"Doyen" of British anatomists, and to the influence 
which his teaching had exerted upon the different 
medical schools in the country, was furnished in 1902 
by the publication of the * Text-Book of Anatomy,' 
edited by Professor D. J. Cunningham. With one ex- 
ception, all the writers had studied under Turner, and 
all but two had acted for longer or shorter periods as 
his assistants. " Bound together by a common tie and 
animated by affection and reverence for their great 
master," the authors sought " to produce a book 
worthy of him whose teaching it so largely reflects." 


In acknowledging the receipt of a presentation copy 
of the volume, Turner writes to Cunningham : — 

On returning home yesterday I found your letter and the 
magnum opus awaiting me. As yet I have only had time to 
turn over the pages and take ;i general look at the text and 
illustrations. What I have seen satisfies me that you and your 
colleagues have produced a book which will rank high as 
a students' text-book, and, in addition, give to older persons 
material for thought and consideration in the discharge of 
their work as teachers. The illustrations are admirable and, 
in their softness and appreciation of texture, are much in 
advance of book illustrations generally found in anatomical 
works. I hope that the sale will be satisfactory and reward 
you properly for your years of labour. 

He would be a very vain man and consequently very hard 
to please who was not satisfied with the handsome and heart- 
some expressions in the dedication and preface. I would 
again express to your colleagues and yourself my gratitude 
for the terms of attection and regard in which you have 
referred to our mutual relations. After forty-eight years 
of teaching it is productive of much pleasure to me to read 
that so many men, themselves eminent as teachers, can refer 
to their old master in language so sympathetic. 

A short account of anatomical teaching in the 
Extra-Mural School during Turner's tenure of the 
Chair is of some interest, not only in connection with 
the men who taught the subject, but as illustrating 
a chapter in the history of the School. The following 
is a brief sketch of the main events as they occurred : — 

When, in 1867, Turner succeeded to Goodsir's 
Chair, Dr D. P. Handyside was teaching Anatomy 
in the lecture rooms behind Surofeons' Hall. 
Shortly after his death in 1881, his place was taken 
by Mr Charles M. Cathcart, who had Mr Francis 
Caird associated with him as Demonstrator. In 
1884, however, Cathcart gave up lecturing on Ana- 
tomy, and Dr J. Macdonald Brown then lectured at 
Surgeons' Hall for eleven years until he migrated 
to London to engage in practice. In 1895, Mr J. 



Ryland Whitaker, the present holder of the lecture- 
ship, succeeded him. 

When a School of Medicine was opened at Minto 
House, Chambers Street, in 1877, the anatomical 
teaching was placed in the hands of Dr J. Cossar 
Ewart — now the Professor of Natural History in the 
University — who had been Curator of the Museum 
at University College, London. After his appoint- 
ment in 1879, to the Chair of Natural History in 
Aberdeen, Johnson Symington, who was one of 
Turner's staff, took over the Anatomy Department 
at Minto House, where he remained until he was called 
to the Queen's College, Belfast, in 1893. The work 
of the School was carried on for another year by Mr 
Alexander Miles, but in 1895, the dissecting-rooms at 
Minto House were handed over to the Women's 
School of Medicine under the supervision of Mr 
Ryland Whitaker. 

Coincident with the termination of anatomical 
teaching to men at Minto House, the New School, 
as it was called, was opened in Bristo Place, the 
Extra-Mural Lecturers of the old Park Place School 
having been obliged to find new premises on account 
of the alterations which had been found necessary in 
connection with the University Buildings Extension 
Scheme. In the Winter Session 1894-95, Dr James 
Musgrove, one of Turner's Demonstrators, became the 
Lecturer on Anatomy in the New School, and continued 
to teach until 1896, when he was called to St Andrews. 
He, in turn, was succeeded by Dr R. J. A. Berry, who 
taught until 1905, when he resigned on his appoint- 
ment to the Chair in Melbourne University. 

Negotiations were then entered into between the 
owners of the New School and the University authori- 
ties with a view to the latter taking over the Ana- 
tomical Department. The University acquired the 
buildings on lease for ten years, with the option of 
renewal from year to year, and utilised the accommo- 
dation for anatomical teaching. With the admission 


of women students to the University in 1916, the 
Anatomical Department of the New School, along with 
several rooms and theatres in the main building, was 
set apart for the teaching of women under Professor 
Arthur Robinson. 

At the present time, therefore, the Lecturer at 
Surgeons' Hall remains as the sole representative of 
anatomical teaching in the Extra-Mural School. While 
all must recognise the value of complementary teach- 
ing outside the University, it is doubtful whether so 
many Schools of Anatomy in the city served an alto- 
gether useful purpose. The scarcity of material for 
dissecting-room purposes has always been a great 
difficulty in Edinburgh, and the need of economy was 
not simplified by distributing it over so many depart- 
ments. This brief account of the Extra-Mural Ana- 
tomical School indicates, too, the direction in which 
events were moving towards a greater concentration 
of the direction of medical teaching in the hands of 
the University, to a fuller consideration of which 
further attention will be given later. 

In the autumn of 1902, it was becoming increasingly 
evident that, for reasons of ill-health, it would be 
necessary for Sir William Muir to resign the oflice of 
Principal of the University. Turner's appointment as 
his successor naturally implied the end of his career 
as a teacher. His promotion to tliis official position, 
coming as it did in the middle of the winter session, 
necessarily interfered with his daily participation in 
the work of his Department, the duties devolving 
largely upon David Hepburn, his Senior Demonstrator. 
The words which Turner addressed to his class when 
the news of his election had been made public, reveal 
the state of his feelings at having to sever his connec- 
tion with the Department in which he had taught as 
demonstrator and professor for forty-nine years. 


When the applause ceased and quietness was re- 
stored, Sir William said — 

Gentlemen, this is an overpowering reception. I thought I 
detected in the midst of it certain words and phrases and 
attempts at music. I think perhaps that I am right in feeling 
that, since we separated yesterday, your attention has been 
directed to a particular form of literature which is not 
included within the pages of your anatomical text-book. You 
are evidently acquainted with a fact which is not there, and 
I recognise that your information on this matter is correct. It 
is true that I have had the honour of being chosen by the 
Curators, the Patrons of the University, to be the Principal. 
I have accepted the office, and, in doing so, I feel that I have 
to fill a position of great responsibility and of a very import- 
ant character in the University. I shall have to put myself 
in line with a whole series of distinguished men who have, 
during three centuries, previously occupied that position — men 
who have been distinguished in various departments of life, as 
scholars, as historians, as divines, as men of science, and as 
men of high administrative ability. 

I have served under four Principals. Dr Lee was Principal 
when I came to the University in 1854, and he was succeeded 
by Sir David Brewster, who, in turn, was succeeded by Sir 
Alexander Grant. Then came a Principal with whom you are 
all acquainted, and who, although years spent in the discharge 
of most important duties have led him to feel that the time 
has come when he should retire from office, is still happily 
with us. Sir William Muir. I feel, gentlemen, that I cannot 
assume the duties of the new office which has been conferred 
upon me without referring to that courteous gentleman, that 
kind-hearted man, who, throughout his eighteen years of ser- 
vice here, has always acted towards his colleagues in a noble 
and impartial way, and who has acted towards the students 
of the University, not only you, gentlemen, who are now 
standing before me, but generations of students before you, 
and has shared in their feelings and sentiments, in a way 
which has most thoroughly endeared him to you and to them, 
and I am sure that he will live in your memories. 

Gentlemen, the acceptance of one office signifies that some- 
thing is to follow. I shall cease to be Professor of Anatomy. 
There is such a thing as human nature, and there is such a 
thing as human strength. Although, as may seem to some of 
you, I have still a reserve of force, the duties of the new 
office, if they are to be fully discharged, will render it neces- 


sary that certain duties discharged now, and which I have 
discharged for so many years, must be relinquished. You 
will, I think, recognise that labouring as I have been doing 
now for nearly fifty years in this University as a teacher of 
Anatomy, for thirteen years as the principal Demonstrator 
and for thirty- six years as Professor, the relinquishing of 
these duties means a great wrench. It is putting behind me 
a great part of my life, and, when a man has reached the age 
which I have reached, he knows perfectly well that in the 
ordinary course of nature that part of his life which lies 
before him cannot be very long. 

Gentlemen, you will understand that the acceptance of this 
new office was to me a matter of much thought, concern, and 
anxiety, and it was only because I was sure that it was my 
duty to accept it that it was accepted. I am not going to say 
" good-bye " to you to-day : I have got my lecture prepared 
for you, I cannot leave the Chair of Anatomy yet ; I have 
still its duties to perform, so I feel that I must go on with my 
lecture. You must now allow me to thank you, and through 
you, all those generations of students who have sat before me 
during the long period of nearly fifty years. I wish to thank 
you all for the sympathy and kindness and, I am proud to 
say, the affection, yes, the affection, which has existed be- 
tween us during all those years. I cannot leave this place 
in which I have been so long engaged without having ray 
emotions excited. Gentlemen, you will understand me. I 
should be a very cold-blooded person indeed, if there was not 
implanted firmly in my heart and in my memory all that I 
owe to the students of the University of Edinburgh, 

It is very difificult, indeed impossible, within the 
compass of one chapter, to give a proper conception of 
the increasing amount of work which, year by year. 
Turner was able to overtake during his Professoriate. 
Although he regarded the duties of his Chair as 
having the first call upon his time and attention, his 
work was by no means confined merely to teaching. 
To some, the conduct of a large Department, which, as 
we have seen, was for many years of exceptional size, 
might have seemed sufficient in itself. It formed a 
part only of the many engagements which he had to 
meet. As his capacity for work and his powers as 
an administrator and a man of affairs became more 


generally recognised by his colleagues, the demands 
made upon his time and energies steadily increased. 
University administration and extension, the work 
of the General Medical Council, and other outside 
interests which claimed his attention, combined with 
his constant application to scientific research, fully 
occupied his days. 

Notwithstanding these obligations, he never relaxed 
his departmental work, nor relegated his duties as 
a teacher or examiner to others, save under special 
circumstances over which he had no control. 

The work which the professional examinations 
entailed upon him at the end of a heavy session he 
found particularly trying, and he always looked for- 
ward with pleasure to an early holiday upon their 
completion. In writing on one occasion to Professor 
Cleland in Galway, evidently he had complained of 
the arduous nature of his duties, as may be gathered 
from the following reply from his friend : — 

I sympathise with your moans over excessive winter work. 
For my own part I am as flat as one of Traquair's flounders, 
and I get nothing done that is in the least amusing. The 
School is, however, beyond all question improving, and is 
turning out some really good men, which is a great comfort. 
But the system of examinations is the bane of medical educa- 
tion. I am glad that Lyon Playfair begins to see that. That 
cursed Board of highly estimable men, the General Medical 
Council, which has been quite as much to blame as the infatu- 
ated and crazy Gladstone Ministry (strong language !) in 
foisting the " Chinese " system on the country, seems deter- 
mined to go on meddling and muddling till it ruins the 

I feel the better of writing that last sentence and expect 
sympathy from you, as I think you admit the evil efl'ects of 
the severe examinations now the fashion, especially upon the 
better sort of students, who ought to be left to study in peace 
in their own way and with leisure to develop reflection, but 
who are crushed down into inept perambulating memories. 
For all that, being an examiner under the system, I own that 
I work it and keep the unfortunate wretches with their noses 
at the grindstone, while I pray for better days. 


Cleland's letter Is dated 1872, Are not examiners 
and examinees still praying for better days? 

Turner's methodical habits, his punctuality, and his 
power of concentration upon the work in hand, enabled 
him to overtake all his engagements with apparent 
ease. It was strikingly characteristic of him that he 
never postponed until to-morrow what he felt ought 
to be attended to to-day. In illustration of this, he 
would answer an important letter after returning 
home at the end of a long day's work, and would even 
go out to post it himself, rather than postpone his 
reply until the following morning. Blessed with a 
strong constitution, which he never abused, he pos- 
sessed the power of recuperating rapidly, largely 
through his being able to sleep well, save on certain 
occasions when specially important business occupied 
his thoughts. In addition to that beneficent gift, he 
adopted, after reaching middle life, the excellent habit 
of going to bed early. At the same period of his 
career, he gave up working in the evening, and, 
throwing off the cares of the day, he obtained much 
mental relaxation in reading biographies, books of 
travel, and novels of all kinds. An incident may be 
recalled here of how one of his colleagues, desiring 
to see him on some matter of business, called at his 
residence one evening between nine and ten o'clock. 
After some delay, necessitated by the lighting of the 
hall gas and the unbolting of the front door, he was 
at last admitted, only to learn that Turner had retired 
for the night. Such early hours were not exceptional, 
but, on the contrary, were the rule in his household. 
Breakfasting regularly at eight o'clock during the 
session, and often engaged in the reading of proof- 
sheets or in letter-writing before that hour, he over- 
took a considerable amount of correspondence before 
leaving home. Notwithstanding the almost universal 
adoption of the typewriter, he set his face steadily 
against the use of the machine in connection with his 
personal correspondence. He preferred to the last to 


write his letters in his own hand, regarding this in 
the light of a greater courtesy to his correspondents, 
in spite of the increased work which it entailed. 

He had the supreme satisfaction during his lifetime 
of seeing his labours as a teacher duly rewarded, 
recognising that the Anatomical Department had 
developed under his care, that he had trained a large 
body of men as successful teachers, that he had imbued 
them with the scientific spirit, and that he had done 
his part in preparing many generations of students 
for their future career in life. He completed his task, 
conscious of having carried on worthily the best 
traditions of the Edinburgh School of Anatomy — of 
having, indeed, added to its fame — and happy in the 
knowledge that he had won and retained the respect 
and affection of thousands of his pupils. 




Anatomy in Edinburgh in the first half of the nineteenth century — 
Sir Charles Bell and John Reid — Barclay and Knox — Wharton 
Jones — Allen Thomson — Martin Barry — John and Harry 
Goodsir — Hughes Bennett — Edward Forbes — The Darwinian 
epoch — Turner and Lister — Turner and Darwin — Comparative 
Anatomy of the Brain — The Marine Mammals. 

" When we consider the progress which society in 
general, or any of the arts or sciences has made, we 
at once perceive that that progress has not been 
steady and invariable, but by fits and starts, pre- 
senting periods of action and of reaction, epochs of 
rapid development and of comparative I'epose. Each 
successive period of advance differs both from the one 
which precedes and the one which follows. Each suc- 
cessive epoch, differing in some essential particulars, 
becomes a period of repose when considered in rela- 
tion to its predecessor. The interests of the last 
age, although no longer presenting the same fresh- 
ness and excitement which they did to our fathers, 
do yet settle down with us into steady acknowledged 
principles of action usefully curtailed of their exuber- 
ances, only to be the better fitted to support and 
protect the more recent ideas of our own age. All 
advance is accompanied by opposition, every society 
presents two parties, progress is apparently the result 


of antagonism ; from which at least we may learn this 
useful lesson — to listen charitably to those who are 
opposed to us in opinion, and to examine our op- 
ponent's statements from his own point of view." ^ 

However interesting it might be to dip into the 
records of anatomical science, and pass in review the 
progress which it has made since the days of Hippo- 
crates and Galen, its revival in the Middle Ages, and 
the important advances which illuminated the eigh- 
teenth century, it is sufficient for our purpose to follow 
the history of anatomy in Scotland during the first 
half of the nineteenth century, prior to Turner's 
arrival ; to endeavour to show how his work was 
influenced by the traditions of the Edinburgh School, 
and to describe the part which he himself took in 
maintaining the scientific reputation of his Depart- 
ment to the end of the century, and even beyond 
it. It was in Edinburgh for the most part, and in 
the hands of her sons whom she had educated and 
sent elsewhere, that anatomy was advancing between 
1800 and 1854 : in no other centre north of the Tweed 
was research, with its attendant progress, more sedu- 
lously carried out. 

Descriptive anatomy dealing with the essential 
structure of the human frame with its influence upon 
surgical anatomy, and the consequent improvement in 
the art of surgery, marked the epoch of the anatom- 
ists Oowper, Winslow, Albinus, Boerhaave, and Monro 
primus, from the close of the seventeenth to the middle 
of the eighteenth centuries. From that date to the 
commencement of the nineteenth century, attention 
was further directed to the study of comparative 
anatomy and human physiology. The functions of 
the various organs of the human body became system- 
atised in the work of Haller in Germany, in that 
of the second Monro, and of his colleague Robert 
Whytt, who occupied the Chair of the Institutes of 

* John Goodsir, Introductoi-y Lecture delivered at the comraencement 
of his first Winter Session, 184C. 


Medicine in Edinburgh. It was the period also of 
the Hunters, William and John ; to the latter, 
probably more than to Cuvier and other exponents 
of the French School of a later period, must be given 
the distinction of establishing and advancing the 
subject of comparative anatomy on a truly scientific 

At the commencement of the nineteenth century, 
the third Monro filled the Chair of Anatomy in Edin- 
burgh. Though lacking in the genius for anatomical 
research, and failing to keep himself in line with the 
scientific advance of his time, he nevertheless formed 
the nucleus of the craniological collection in the Ana- 
tomical Museum of the University, which was after- 
wards to prove such valuable material for the study 
of anthropology in Turner's hands. We must, there- 
fore, turn to the able body of men in the Extra-Mural 
School of this period, and observe how experimental 
physiology and comparative anatomy were developing 
in their hands. Charles Bell was still resident in 
Edinburgh, and lectured at the College of Surgeons 
until the end of 1804, when he migrated to London 
to teach anatomy. His work upon ' The Anatomy of 
Expression,' though not published until 1806, was 
mainly the outcome of his early labours in Edin- 
burgh. In it he maintained that man alone was 
endowed with certain muscles solely concerned with 
the function of expressing the emotions. As this 
view obviously could not be reconciled Avith the 
doctrine of man's descent from some other and lower 
form of life, Charles Darwin later in the century was 
led to study the whole subject, not only in the various 
races of man, but in the lower animals, the result of 
his investigations being published in the volume en- 
titled ' Expression of the Emotions in Man and 

Charles Bell's reputation, however. Is permanently 
established upon his conception of the function of 
the central nervous system. He reasoned by infer- 


ence from anatomical structure and relations, and 
he carried out experiments in order to verify the 
fundamental principles thus conceived. He was the 
first to realise that a meaning was attached to the 
subdivision of the nervous system into big brain, 
little brain, spinal cord, and nerve roots, and, in the 
early days of his professional struggle in London, his 
mind was completely absorbed with his new " Idea." 
His most important and best -known work was the 
discovery of the functions of the roots of the spinal 
nerves, which was published in 1811, in the form of 
an Essay. He likewise saw in the double roots of 
the fifth cranial nerve a resemblance to what he 
had noticed in the spinal nerves, and he proved 
by experiment, what he also observed in disease, 
that part of the nerve conducted the motor-power 
to muscles, and that part contained the nerve-fibres 
of sensation. Sir Charles Bell returned to Edinburgh 
in 1836 to occupy the Chair of Surgery, with a repu- 
tation which, on the Continent, was regarded by some 
men as greater than that of William Harvey. He was 
then sixty-two years of age, too old to make a fresh 
start in life : he died in 1842. It was his misfortune, 
in which Edinburgh shared, that no great anatomical 
position had been secured for him in his native city 
at a time when his energies and mental vigour were 
at their best. 

The example of his work upon cerebral function 
served to stimulate the mind of John Reid along 
similar paths of research. Born in Bathgate in 
1809, two years before James Young Simpson saw 
the light of day in the same town, Reid entered 
the University at the age of fourteen, and, early 
in his studies, he developed a preference for anatomy 
and physiology. A disciple of Haller, a friend of 
Goodsir and of Edward Forbes, he became assistant 
to Robert Knox. By his numerous original contri- 
butions to science, and especially by his classical 
work upon the function of the glosso - pharyngeal 


and vagus nerves, published in 1838, he gained tor 
himself a position amongst the experimental anatom- 
ists of which time will not deprive him. He also 
proved that the heart had a double innervation 
through the vagus and sympathetic nerves, and he 
just failed to discover the cardio-inhibitory function 
of the vagus nerve. With the technical difficulties 
under which men like Bell and lleid worked, it is 
astonishing that so much was elucidated. They 
possessed no well - equipped laboratories ; they had 
no more satisfactory nerve -stimulus than that sup- 
plied by the galvanic current and by chemical and 
mechanical irritation, no anaesthetic other than 
morphia, and they worked without the knowledge 
of what is now known as antiseptic procedure. In 
1841, John Ileid was elected to the Chair of Physi- 
ology in the University of St Andrews, but he died 
in 1849, at the early age of forty. 

During the period covered by the work of Bell and 
Reid, the study of comparative anatomy was receiving 
further attention. From 1797 to 1825, Dr Barclay, 
full of enthusiasm for his subject, was lecturing to 
crowded benches in Surgeons' Square. Though a 
profound human anatomist, he had a wide know- 
ledge of the anatomy of the whole animal kingdom, 
and his museum, now the property of the Royal 
College of Surgeons, was laboriously collected and 
arranged by himself Amongst the many pupils 
upon whom his influence fell was Sir Richard Owen, 
who, while a student in Edinburgh in 1824-25, re- 
ceived great encouragement from his teacher. The 
stimulus which Owen derived from Barclay did much 
to assist in finally })lacing him in the first rank of 
comparative anatomists. Barclay sent Owen to St 
Bartholomew's with a private letter of recommenda- 
tion to John Abernethy. 

As Barclay's successor, Robert Knox added fresh 
interest to anatomical teaching by the manner in 
which he propounded the science from its morpho- 


logical aspect. An early visit to Paris, where he had 
familiarised himself with the work and ideals of the 
brilliant Frenchmen, Cuvier and Geoffroy St Hilaire, 
led him to teach the structure of the human frame, 
not as a mere appendage to surgery, but through the 
medium of comparative anatomy ; he thus sought to 
shed light upon man's body and upon the type from 
which his individual parts had been evolved. In 
1842, his position in Edinburgh became untenable, for 
reasons already referred to,^ and his later years, which 
must have been full of bitter disappointment to him, 
were spent to a large extent in giving popular lectures 
in different parts of the country. He died in London 
in 1862. Amongst his many pupils upon whom he 
left an inspiring influence were John Reid, John and 
Harry Goodsir, Edward Forbes, James Young Simpson, 
Hughes Bennett, Wharton Jones, Martin Barry, 
William Sharpey, and W. B. Carpenter. 

With the discovery in 1831, by the English botanist, 
Robert Brown, of the " nucleus " within the cells of 
the epidermis and tissues of the orchids and other 
plants, and with the further observations of the German 
botanist Schleiden, that the nucleus was a universal 
elementary organ in the vegetable kingdom, a fresh 
impulse was given to the investigation of the primary 
structure of animal tissues and their mode of develop- 
ment. During the thirties of the nineteenth centur}^, 
therefore, we find the dawn of the period of embry- 
ology, in which the Edinburgh School played no un- 
important part. The attention of anatomists and 
physiologists was directed to this field of research, 
their labours being greatly facilitated by the improve- 
ments devised in the manufacture of compound lenses. 
In addition to the magnification of the object under 
observation, a relatively large and flat field of vision 
was obtained along with clearness and sharpness of 
definition. In January 1830, Joseph Jackson Lister, 
the father of Lord Lister, read before the Royal Society 

* Chapter V. 


his memoir " On some Properties in Achromatic 
Object-Glasses applicable to the Improvement of 
Microscopes." Through his inventive genius it thus 
became possible to investigate with greater precision 
the minute anatomy of the tissues. 

While the German observers, Johannes Miiller, 
Schwann, and Henle, were publishing the results of 
their researches upon the anatomy of the animal cell 
and stating their views as to its mode of subdivision, 
a small but brilliant band of workers in Edinburgh 
was also turnincr its attention to the structure of 
the cell and the early changes in the human embryo, 
thus contributing its share to the new epoch in 
anatomical science. They assisted in establishing the 
" cell-theory " as the basis of organic structure, and, 
at the same time, they helped to lay the foundation 
of the doctrine of cellular pathology. 

Wharton Jones, born in St Andrews in 1809, 
studied medicine in Edinburgh, and at the age of 
eighteen was demonstrating anatomy with Knox. In 
1835, he made the discovery of the germinal vesicle 
in the mammalian ovum, and in 1837, described the 
origin of the chorion. His description of capillary 
circulation and of the minute phenomena of inflamma- 
tion in the web of the frog, and in the bat's wing, 
afterwards suggested to Lister his more extended 
researches in a similar held. Having studied the 
diseases of the eye in Glasgow, Wharton Jones settled 
in London in 1838, as Lecturer on Physiology at the 
Charing Cross Hospital Medical School. Here Thomas 
Henry Huxley became his pupil. Wharton Jones was 
next appointed Professor of Ophthalmic Medicine and 
Surgery at University College, where Lister assisted 
him, and was given his first definite piece of research 
work. While his activities were now directed to 
ophthalmological practice, he continued to maintain 
his interest in Physiology. Of somewhat eccentric 
disposition and of retiring habits, his later years were 
spent in comparative poverty. Though a man gifted 


with rare powers of observation and a pioneer in his 
branch of research in early life, he has never occupied 
in the world of science the position to which his 
undoubted abilities entitled him. He died in the 
Isle of Wight in 1891. 

Allen Thomson, a son of the professoriate, was born 
in the same year as Wharton Jones. At the very 
outset of his career, he turned his attention to 
embryological investigation, and graduating in 1830, 
he presented his thesis upon the " Development of the 
Heart and Great Blood Vessels in the Vertebrates." 
He at once commenced teaching in the Extra-Mural 
School along with William Sharpey. Thomson, with 
a knowledge of French and German, visited the 
Continental schools and became familiar with the work 
of Schwann, Henle, and Kolliker. In 1839, the year 
in which he temporarily left Edinburgh to become 
Professor of Anatomy in Aberdeen, he published his 
most important contribution upon the development of 
the human embryo. Returning to his Alma Mater in 
1842, he occupied the Chair of Physiology until 1848, 
when he went to Glasgow as Professor of Anatomy. 

Probably the greatest of the men of this period 
was Martin Barry. An Englishman by birth, he 
graduated at Edinburgh University in 1833 ; he did 
more than any other man in this country in extending 
the horizon of the cell-theory in its early days. In 
his memoirs published between 1838 and 1847, he 
announced several important discoveries. He was the 
lirst to recognise the segmentation of the yolk in the 
mammalian ovum, and he demonstrated the fact that 
in animals as in plants, the young cells were repro- 
duced from pre-existing cells, the nucleus acting as 
the important centre of reproduction. He enunciated 
the doctrine that all cells were descended from an 
original mother cell by cleavage of the nucleus, the 
subsequent nuclei propagating in the same way. He 
thus made an important advance on the view enter- 
tained by Schwann, who regarded endogenous cell 


formation as quite exceptional in animals. Barry 
further observed the fertilisation of the ovum, and lie 
expressed the opinion that the fertilised ovum was 
the germinal spot or centre. His earlier work was 
conducted in Edinburgh ; in 1843, he delivered a 
course of lectures on Physiology at St Thomas' 
Hospital, and in 1848, he unsuccessfully contested the 
vacant Chair of Physiology, when Hughes Bennett was 

Between 1840 and 1845, John Goodsir and his 
brother Harry were also studying the processes of 
cell life, freely acknowledging the assistance which 
they had derived from the researches of Martin Barry. 
John Goodsir watched the endogenous cell formation 
which was taking place in the cartilage cells in the 
process of inflammation. He studied the secreting 
process in the cells of glands, and he established the 
fact that the cells were the active structures engaged 
in the production of glandular secretion. He further 
observed the changes which were produced in the 
diseased conditions of Peyer's patches, thus offering 
the first satisfactory evidence of, and giving the clue 
to, the correct conception of the part played by the 
cell in the production of disease. He thus anticipated 
by a number of years the work of the German 
pathologist, Rudolph Virchow. Goodsir's observations 
were confirmed by his brother Harry in 1845, shortly 
before the latter joined Sir John Franklin's ill-fated 
expedition to the Polar Seas, where he perished along 
with the other members of the exploring party. 

The observations of Martin Barry and the Goodsirs 
constituted a great step in advance of the views 
entertained by Schleiden and Schwann, and showed 
that they had a deeper insight into the nature and 
function of cells than was possessed by most of their 
contemporaries. Hughes Bennett, the last of tlie 
band whose labours with the microscope are deserving 
of attention, based his observations mainly upon the 
study of diseased processes. Like Henle, he opposed 



the view of the formation of new cells from pre- 
existing cells through the division of the nucleus, and 
held that they were developed in an organic fluid 
by the aggregation of molecules which produced 
nuclei, round which cell walls were formed. This 
theory of free cell formation, which many pathologists 
at that time supported, had finally to be abandoned, 
alike in healthy as in diseased processes, as the result 
of the mass of evidence accumulated by Virchow, 
who maintained that there was no formation de 7iovo, 
enunciating the law of continuous development, formu- 
lated in the expression omnis cellula e celluld. 

" It was in the accuracy of his observations and 
in the justice of his inferences that John Goodsir was 
pre-eminent, and the lesson that we may learn from 
his early career is, that the secrets of man's body will 
not yield to a frontal attack with knife and forceps, 
as was the method of the third Monro, but to those 
who approach man's anatomy through the simple 
animal forms where the processes of life are more 
easily observed." ^ For this reason we find Goodsir 
turning his attention in other directions and seeking 
to unravel the larger animal kingdom of which man 
forms only a part. Born in 1814, at Anstruther, 
within sight and sound of the Firth of Forth, its 
fauna were early a source of delight and interest to 
him. Marine Zoology was at his door, and he dredged 
its waters and studied the natural history of the 
many living forms which he thus obtained. In com- 
pany with his friend and fellow-student, Edward 
Forbes, a native of the Isle of Man, to whom he had 
been instinctively drawn when they met first in 
Knox's dissecting - rooms, many expeditions were 
carried out. Between 1837 and 1847, the two men 
made valuable contributions to comparative anatomy ; 
the natural history of the sea-urchin, the skeleton 
framework of the sponges and the anatomy of the 

' Professor Arthur Keith. "Anatomy in Scotland," Edinr. Med. 
Journal, 1912. 


Amphioxus, were carefully detailed by Goodsir's pen. 
Nor were his researches confined to unravelling the 
secrets of the deep. The opening of ancient " barrows " 
in Fife, and the excavation of the old burial-ground 
of the Abbey of St Leonard's at St Andrews, furnished 
him with skulls, while the limestones and the slates 
in the quarries near Anstruther provided him with 
the remains of fossil fish. In Edward Forbes, the 
genial and gifted Manxman, the University possessed, 
during the thirties, a student of medicine and science 
with a great future before him. A pioneer in the 
science of deep-sea exploration, his researches, limited 
in his youth to the waters surrounding his native isle 
and the shores of Scotland, were extended to the 
Mediterranean and the Eastern ^gean. Cut off in 
his thirty-ninth year, within a few months of his 
appointment to the Chair of Natural History in the 
University, he would probably, had he lived, have 
made Edinburgh the greatest centre of Marine Biology 
in Europe. In the attic rooms at 21 Lothian Street, 
the Goodsir brothers, in their younger days, lived and 
worked and entertained their friends, Robert Knox, 
John Reid, Edward Forbes, and Hughes Bennett. 
" They issued a journal and formed a club, the 
brotherhood of which was stamped with the sign of 
the triangle, symbolical of wine, love, and learning. 
The wine was not excessive : the love was brotherly 
love : the learning was of a high order." ^ There, too, 
they gathered together their zoological material, frogs, 
fish, molluscs, and sea-urchins, and the odds and ends 
of the Invertebrate Kingdom, which they dissected, 
examined, and described. The rooms presented a 
" chaos of natural history and domesticity only to be 
surpassed by the oddest curiosity shop in the Cowgate 
of the ancient city." - But like other students of 

* Professor W. A. Herdman — 'Life and Work of Professor Edward 

2 'Anatomical Memoirs of the late John Goodsir,' edited by William 


science of those earlier days, their brains and their 
hands, unassisted by the facilities now obtainable in 
the modern laboratory, yielded them results of per- 
manent value. 

Such, in brief, were some of the lines along which 
Goodsir worked, and his Anatomical Memoirs, collected 
and edited by his Demonstrator and successor in the 
Chair, furnish abundant evidence of the many-sided 
character of his work. 

Within a short period of Turner's arrival in 
Edinburgh, a new epoch in biological science was 
inaugurated, which profoundly influenced the minds 
of anatomists. The doctrine of Evolution, previously 
enunciated by Lamarck, received an enormous impetus 
by the publication, in 1859, of Darwin's 'Origin of 
Species,' which sent men's minds moving along a 
path the end of which could not be seen. Evolution 
assumed a position and acquired an importance which 
it had never before possessed. In Scotland, it took 
hold of the imagination of her anatomists, and it 
directed the lines along which they worked up to 
the end of the nineteenth century and beyond. A 
definition of the Darwinian doctrine may perhaps be 
rendered more clear by quoting what Turner has 
written upon the question. 

Heredity may be defined as the perpetuation of the like, 
or, as Gal ton more fitly expressed it, " Like tends to produce 
like." The offspring is moulded into the likeness of the 
parents ; but similarity never reaches identity either in form 
or structure, because the tendency to a general similarity 
coexists with the tendency to minor variation. The pigeon- 
or canary-fancier distinguishes without fail the various birds 
in his flock, and the shepherd recognises each sheep that is 
under his care. Variability therefore is the production of the 
unlike, and has a most important bearing upon the origin 
of species. 


Turner has more tersely defined the Darwinian 
theory as " Heredity, modified and influenced by vari- 
ability." In amplification of the above, he wrote : — 

The signification of the variations which arise in plants 
and animals had not been apprehended until a flood of light 
was thrown on the entire subject by the genius of Charles 
Darwin, who formulated the wide-reaching theory that vari- 
ations would arise, accumulate, and be perpetuated, which 
would in course of time assume specific importance. New 
species might thus be evolved out of organisms originally 
distinct from them, and their specific characters would in 
turn be transmitted to their descendants. By a continuance 
of this process new species would multiply in many directions, 
until at length from one or more originally simple forms the 
earth would become peopled by the infinite varieties of plant 
and animal organisms, which have in ages past inhabited, or 
do at present inhabit, our globe. Through the accumulation 
of useful characters the specific variation was perpetuated by 
natural selection, so long as the conditions were favourable 
for its existence, and it survived as being the best fitted 
to live. 

Thus Paley's doctrine of design, which regarded 
the organism as perfect and impossible of improve- 
ment, made and adapted to carry out the special 
function ordained for it, was supplanted by the doc- 
trine of Evolution. 

Goodsir would not accept the new teaching. He 
worked to check the growth of Darwinism in Britain, 
and to counteract the impression that had been made 
upon the minds of the citizens of Edinburgh by the 
publication of the ' Vestiges of Creation,' and by 
Huxley's lectures at the Philosophical Institution on 
" Man's Place in Nature." He sought to defend ortho- 
doxy agains! what he considered was an unqualified 
and hasty expression of thought. Turner, although 
coming under the spell of Goodsir and stimulated by 
the great mental qualities of his master, was never- 
theless inspired by the evolutionary movement. A 
study of his work will show just what his position 


was, and how persistently his mind dwelt upon the 
problem, as he carried on his researches in the field 
of Comparative Anatomy and Anthropology. He 
very early turned his attention to the study of those 
structural variations which occur in the human body, 
recognising their significance as furnishing evidence 
of Man's origin. Many of his papers, published in 
the sixties, deal with variability in structure, mal- 
formations of organs, hereditary deformities, super- 
numerary and rudimentary structures, and their 
relation to corresponding features in the lower 
animals, all illustrating points in the evolutionary 
history of Man. It is interesting to observe at this 
point that, like his friend George Rolleston of Oxford, 
he was not prepared to accept the evolutionary doc- 
trine in its entirety. Darwin sought his assistance 
upon a number of points, especially upon those deal- 
ing with rudimentary structures and variations in 
man and the higher mammals, and the correspondence 
between the two men dealt mainly with matters of 
this kind. In one of his letters to Darwin, Turner, 
while pointing out that in the ' Descent of Man ' a 
confusion had arisen in the author's mind between 
the supra-condyloid foramen sometimes present in the 
arm-bone of a man and the inter-condyloid foramen of 
the same bone, had evidently expressed some doubts 
regarding the evolutionary doctrine. Darwin's reply 
was as follows : — 

March 28, 1871, 
Down, Beckenham, Kent. 

I am much obliged for your kind note and especially for your 
offer of sometimes sending me corrections, for which I shall 
be very grateful. I know that there are many mistakes to 
which I am very liable. That is a terrible one confusing the 
supra-condyloid foramen with another one. This, however, 
I have corrected in all the copies struck off after the first 
lot of 2500. 

I daresay there will be a new edition in the course of nine 
months or a year, and I will correct as well as I can. As yet. 


the publisher has kept up type and grumbles dreadfully if I 
make many corrections. 

I am very far from surprised that you have not committed 
yourself to full acceptation of the Evolution of Man. Diffi- 
culties and objections there undoubtedly are, enough and to 
spare, to stagger any very cautious man who has much know- 
ledge like yourself. Ch. Darwin. 

Turner, like Goodsir, took a wide view of his subject, 
and he embraced within its horizon much more than 
the details of human anatomy. In his scientific work 
as in his teaching, he came under the influence of the 
traditions and the spirit of the Edinburgh School. 
We have endeavoured to show how, in the past, her 
anatomists were not confining their attention to the 
mere descriptive anatomy of the human body, but 
were probing its secrets by the study of its develop- 
ment and of its functions, and by comparing it with 
the structure of the lower forms of animal life. In his 
own Department all that was best in Anatomy was 
embodied in the personality of John Goodsir. When 
Turner entered the school in 1854, her teachers held 
scientific positions of world-wide reputation, so that 
he could not fail to absorb some of the atmosphere of 
his immediate environment and be stimulated to take 
his share in maintaining the prestige of the School. 
It is doubtful whether any one of the scientific 
workers in Edinburgh at that time, or indeed in the 
past, showed such catholicity of pursuits as he did. 
Chemistry, Pathology, Human Anatomy (descriptive 
and microscopical), Physiology, Zoology, Comparative 
Anatomy, Anthropology (including Archaeology), all 
received his attention. His energies were not dissi- 
pated by reason of the various lines along which he 
worked : on the contrary, his wide and precise know- 
ledge of every branch of anatomical science was a 
source of strength, as it enaljled him to bring to bear 
upon each piece of work which he had in hand a more 
exact interpretation of the meaning of the facts which 
he observed and described. 


We have already referred to the interest which he 
took in Chemistry in his earlier days, and we have 
thriven a brief account of his work on Pathology in 
connection with the editing of Sir James Paget's 
' Lectures on Surgical Pathology.' ^ It is unnecessary, 
therefore, to recapitulate what he did in these two 
branches of science ; they played their part in laying 
the foundation of the edifice which he was gradually 
to build up. His experience in the use of the micro- 
scope, which he acquired as a teacher, and his con- 
viction that a thorough knowledge of the structure 
of the tissues and organs of the human body was 
a necessary basis from which to proceed to more 
extended research, led him into microscopical work. 
In 1859, he collaborated with his friend Joseph Lister 
in an investisfation into the Structure of Nerve Fibres. 

In 1859, Mr Lockhart Clarke, of London, visited Edinburgh 
and demonstrated specimens which he had made to illustrate 
the minute structure of the spinal cord. Those of us who 
were present were much impressed with the clearness of his 
sections, so materially enhanced by the use of the carmine 
stain recently introduced into histological methods. It oc- 
curred to Lister and myself tliat the use of this reagent 
mitrht throw additional light on the structure and chemical 
composition of the constituent parts of a nerve fibre. Lister 
suggested that we should undertake a joint inquiry, the re- 
sults of which were published in the same year. My associa- 
tion with him in this investigation enabled me to realise and 
to profit by the methodical care with which he conducted his 
observations, the importance of testing them by repetition and 
control experiments, and his caution in framing conclusions.- 

The point at issue — the eti'ect produced on the 
ti.ssues by the employment of certain chemical re- 
agents — was satisfactorily explained, and on the 
completion of the paper, Turner received the follow- 
ing letter from Lister : — 

1 Chapters II. and III. 

- From Turuer's letter to Sir Riekmau Godlee. 


St Leonard's-on-Sea, 
September 21, 1859. 

I send you by this post the proof of our paper, which I 
liave to-day received. I have added a supplement, and I 
trust you will not disapprove of the arrangement. The facts 
are these. Just after you left home I secured Goodsir's at- 
tendance at No. 4 High School Yards.^ On looking at our 
preparations he spoke of the similarity of some of Stilling's 
plates to my sketch of the fibres of the medullary sheath, and 
he has lent me his copy of Stilling's book. When I men- 
tioned to him my observation of the arborescent aggregation 
of fat, alluded to in the supplement, he was much pleased 
with it, and thought I ought not to lose the opportunity of 
criticising Stilling's strange account of the matter. ... I have 
omitted the account of the process of the nerve-cell assuming 
the characters of a nerve fibre : you may remember that you 
were not so sure of that observation as I was, and my own 
faith in it has been shaken, partly by finding in the 3rd 
edition of Kolliker's ' Handbuch ' the statement that lie has 
never been able to see such a thing in mammalia, and also 
by having been myself unable to find another example of it 
in spite of carefully searching other sections. Will you kindly 
return me the proof as soon as possible, as the month is draw- 
ing to a close. 

Hoping that you will not work too hard, but retain a suffi- 
cient stock of health for your winter session, — I remain, 

Joseph Lister. 

Turner's study of minute structure was further 
exemplified in his classical work upon Placentation, 
human and comparative, which gave him an out- 
standing position in the scientific world, in his work 
upon the thyroid and thymus glands in the Cetacea, 
and on the structure and mode of implantation of the 
hair of the scalp in various races of men, as a differen- 
tial feature in considering certain racial affinities. 

His work upon rudimentary structures in man was 
mainly responsible for the acquaintanceship which was 
formed between him and Darwin. The latter, while 
engaged in the preparation of ' The Descent of Man ' 
and ' The Variation of Animals and Plants under 

' Lister was then lecturing on Surgery at 4 High School Yards. 


Domestication,' sought to elucidate how far man's 
bodily structure showed traces, more or less plainly, 
of his descent from some lower form of animal life. 
The question, therefore, as to whether man possessed, 
in a rudimentary state, organs or structures which 
were fully developed in some of the lower animals, 
was one of considerable importance to Darwin in 
constructing his thesis. Such structures are very 
variable, because being useless, or nearly so, they 
are no longer subjected to natural selection. They 
often, too, become w^holly suppressed, but they are 
nevertheless liable to occasional reappearance through 

Darwin's letters to Turner, though few in number, 
are of additional interest from the fact that they have 
not hitherto been published. They also illustrate 
one of the methods which the great naturalist em- 
ployed in acquiring accurate information ; they show, 
too, the great consideration and respect with which 
he treated the opinion of experts, a feature which 
was a marked characteristic of Darwin's attitude 
towards his fellow-workers. 

Dec. 14, 1866, 

Down, Kent. 

Your kindness when I met you at the Royal Society makes 
me think that you would grant me the favour of a little in- 
formation, if in your power. 

I am preparing a book on ' Domestic Animals,' and as there 
has been so much discussion on the bearing of such views as 
I hold on Man, I have some thoughts of adding a chapter on 
this subject. 

The point on which I want information is in regard to any 
part which may be fairly called rudimentary in comparison 
with the same part in the Quadrumana or any other mammals. 

Now the OS coccyx is rudimentary as a tail, and I am 
anxious to hear about its muscles. Mr Flower found for 
me in some work that its one muscle (with strise) was sup- 
posed only to bring this bone back to its proper position after 

This seems to me hardly credible. He said he had never 
particularly examined this part, and when I mentioned your 


name, he said you were the most likely man to give me in- 
formation. Are there any traces of other muscles ? It seems 
strange if there are none. Do you know how the muscles are 
in this part in the Anthropoid Apes ? 

The muscles of the Ear in Man may, I suppose, in most 
cases be considered as rudimentary ; and so they seem to 
be in the Anthropoids: at least, I am assured that in the 
Zoological Gardens they do not erect their ears. I gather 
that there are a good many muscles in various parts of the 
body which are in the same state. Could you specify any of 
the best cases ? 

The mammae in man are rudimentary. Are there any 
other glands or other organs which you can think of ? I 
know I have no right whatever to ask all these questions, 
and can only say that I shall be grateful for any information. 
If you tell me anything about the os coccyx, or other struc- 
tures, I hope that you will permit me to quote the statement 
on your authority, as that would so greatly add to its value. 
Pray excuse me for troubling you, and do not hurry yourself 
in the least in answering me. 

I do not know whether you would care to possess a copy, 
but I told my publisher to send you a copy of the new edition 
of the 'Origin.' Ch. Darwin. 

Jan. 15, 1867, 
Down, Bromlet, Kent. 

As you were so kind as to say that I might ask you a 
few more questions, and as my wishes are now rather more 
definite, I do so ; but you must not suppose that I am in any 
hurry for an answer. 

1. One or two good cases of any rudiment of a muscle 
would suffice ; if any muscle in our arms exists in a rudi- 
mentary or nearly rudimentary condition, and which would 
be of service to a quadruped, going on all fours, such a case 
would perhaps be best. 

2. You reminded me that there were two sets of muscles 
for moving the whole ear and its parts : which of such 
muscles are rudimentary in the human ear ? 

3. I have used your information about muscles to the 
OS coccyx ; if my memory does not deceive me, the four 
coccygeal bones contain spinal marrow at an early embrj'onic 
age, and afterwards it retreats. If this is so, are vestiges of 
the membranes of the spinal marrow retained ? 


4. Ih any other gland rudimentary in mankind besides the 
Huiunuary glands in male mammals ? 

5. I may add that I have alluded to traces of the supra- 
condyloid foramen in the humerus of man, and to the nictitat- 
ing membrane. By the way, do you chance to remember 
whether the nictitating membrane is well developed in 
Marsupials ? 

Pray forgive me, if you can, for being so very troublesome. 

Ch. Darwin. 

Feb. 1, 1867, 
Down, Bkomley, Kent. 

I thank you cordially for all your full information, and I 
regret much that I have given you such great trouble at a 
period when your time is so much occupied. But the facts 
are so valuable to me that I cannot pretend that I am sorry 
that I did trouble you, and I am the less so, as, from what you 
say, I hope you may be induced some time to write a full 
account of all rudimentary structures in man ; it would be a 
very curious and interesting memoir. 

I shall at present give only a brief abstract of the chief 
facts which you have so veiy kindly communicated to me, 
and will not touch on some of the doubtful points. I have 
received far more information than I ventured to anticipate. 

There is one point which has occurred to me, but I suspect 
there is nothing in it. If, however, there should be, perhaps 
you will let me have a brief note, and if I do not hear I will 
understand there is nothing in the notion. I have included 
the down on the human body as the rudimentary representa- 
tion of a hairy coat. 

I do not know whether there is any direct functional con- 
nection between the presence of hair and the j^f^'^^'i^iculus 
caniosiis, but both are superficial and would perhaps together 
become rudimentary. But to put the question from another 
point of view: is it the primary or aboriginal function of 
the panniculus to move the several appendages or the skin 
itself ? 

I was led to think of this by the places (as far as my 
ignorance of anatomy has allowed me to judge) of the rudi- 
mentary muscular fasciculi, which you specify. Now, some 
persons can move the skin of their hairy hands, and is this 
not etiected by the panniculus ? How is it with the eye- 
brows ? You specify the axilla and the front of the chest 
and lower part of the shoulder blades. Now these are all 


hairy spots in Man. On the other hand, the back is not 
hairy. So, as I said, I presume there is nothing in this 
notion. If there were, then rudiments of the panniculus 
ought perhaps to occur more plainly in men than in women. 

With sincere thanks for all that you have done for me, 
and for the very kind manner in which you granted me your 
favour. Ch. Darwin. 

Although Turner's answers to these letters, unfor- 
tunately, are not preserved, the information which he 
was able to supply is embodied and acknowledged in 
' The Descent of Man.' The main points dealt with 
were the rudimentary muscles and tail, the remains of 
a hairy covering upon the human body, a third eyelid, 
and the rudimentary mammary gland in man. Amongst 
the various muscles uniformly present in some of the 
lower animals, and which can occasionally be detected 
in man, the most interesting perhaps is the panniculus 
carnosus, a layer of muscular fibres lying just beneath 
the skin, and capable of producing voluntary move- 
ment of the overlying integument. The action of 
this muscle is well seen in many quadrupeds, as, 
for example, the horse, which possesses the power of 
moving or twitching its skin. Remnants of the 
muscle, both in an active and inactive condition, are 
observed in the human body. Well-known examples 
are seen on the scalp and in the muscles of the ex- 
ternal ear, by the action of which individuals are 
enabled to raise their eyebrows, or even to move the 
whole hairy scalp, while others again have the power 
of drawing their ears backwards and forwards. Turner 
had occasionally detected inactive remains of this 
muscle in other parts of the body, as on the front and 
back of the chest. The association of this muscle with 
parts of the skin which are also hairy, led Darwin, in 
the last of the three letters just quoted, to put forward 
the proposition that there was probably a develop- 
mental association between the panniculus and the 
hairy coat, and that both structures together became 
rudimentary in man. 


The OS coccyx or tail in man, though rudimentary 
and devoid of function, is representative of the 
same part in other vertebrate animals, though in 
certain rare and anomalous cases it has been known 
to form a small external rudimentary organ. It pos- 
sesses, too, the remains of a spinal cord, though that 
is no longer contained within a bony canal. 

The nictitating membrane or third eyelid, which is 
specially well developed in birds and serves as an 
additional protection to the eye, and which is also 
seen in some of the lower of the mammalian series — 
for example, the Marsupials — is in man a mere rudi- 
mentary fold. 

With regard to the existence of rudimentary mammae 
in the male, Darwin has offered the explanation that 
in some former period the male aided the female in 
nursing their offspring : at a later period, the males 
ceased to do so, and disuse of the organs during 
maturity led to their becoming inactive. At all 
earlier ages prior to maturity, these organs would be 
left unaffected, so that they were equally well devel- 
oped in the young of both sexes. 

Such are a few of the structural arrangements 
which Darwin made use of in building up his concep- 
tion of man's early progenitors. The manner in which 
his mind applied itself to the elucidation of these 
points is also well illustrated in the letters just 
quoted. In looking at man as he now exists, he 
attempted to restore during successive periods, thouo-h 
not in due order of time, the structure of his bygone 
ancestors. They were at one time men covered with 
hair, and both sexes possessed beards ; their ears were 
pointed and capable of movement ; their bodies were 
provided with a tail having the proper muscles for its 
movement ; while their limbs were acted on by many 
muscles, which now only occasionally reappear. The 
main artery and nerve of the upper arm ran through 
a supra-condyloid foramen, and the eye was protected 
by a third eyelid. 


Turner's attention was early directed towards the 
arrangement of the convolutions upon the surface of 
the human brain ; and while, at the outset, his work 
was confined to their study in man, he very soon 
enlarged its scope so as to include the mammalian 
kingdom in general. The influence of the evolu- 
tionary movement was still at work. 

The comparative structure of the brain in man and 
in the apes was, in the year 1860, exciting the interest 
of anatomists. The question as to the existence of 
certain morphological points of difference in their 
cerebral anatomy aroused a keen controversy between 
Owen and Huxley, and the interest attached to the 
debates was not confined to scientific meetings, but 
spread to the general public, and even the dignitaries 
of the Church took part in the discussions. 

Turner's first important contribution was an elab- 
orate study of the surface arrangement of the con- 
volutions of grey matter of the cerebral cortex, based 
upon a series of dissections of the brains of apes and 
man, which was delivered in the form of a lecture 
before the Royal Medical Society, and published in 
the 'Edinburgh Medical Journal' in 1866. In this 
paper he took exception to Gratiolet's description of 
the posterior boundary of the frontal lobe, and held 
the position that the fissure of Rolando should be re- 
garded as its posterior limit, and the plane of demar- 
cation between it and the parietal lobe, a view which 
has since become generally accepted. He also described 
within the parietal lobe a fissure to which he gave the 
name of the intraparietal fissure. Though previously 
figured in drawings of the brain, little attention had 
been paid to it. Its importance was subsequently 
recognised, and it came to be regarded as the third 
of the three primary fissures upon the cranial surface 
of the brain. Later, he dealt w ith the relations of the 
brain to the outer surface of the skull and head, and 
devised a method of locating the position of the 
convolutions in the living person. 


His interest in the brain, however, soon led him to 
widen the field of his investigations, with a view to 
ascertaining whether the arrangement of the folds 
upon the surface of the human brain corresponded 
with that which existed in the brains of the lower 
animals. The method of production of the cerebral 
convolutions or folds upon the brain cortex or surface 
is a matter of great interest, and was regarded by 
Turner, in the main, as a physical problem, due to the 
resistance offered by the bony walls of the cranial box, 
comparatively yielding as they undoubtedly are in the 
earlier stage of development, and becoming more un- 
yielding as the ossification of the bones advances. 
Their resistance at last becomes so great that the 
further expansion of the brain surface and of the 
cerebral hemispheres as a whole ceases, and then the 
convoluted surface exhibits the arrangement charac- 
teristic of the species and of the individual. 

If the highly convoluted brain of Gauss, the great mathe- 
matician, be contrasted with that of a Bushwoman, a very 
primitive type of the human species, it is seen that, in both, 
the plan of arrangement of the folds or convolutions with the 
intervening hssures or fuiTows characteristic of the human 
brain are present, but in Gauss the tortuosity and sub- 
divisions of the convolutions contrast strongly with the 
comparatively simple distribution in the Bush brain. In 
volume. Gauss' brain surpassed that of the Bushwoman, and 
his cranial cavity was of course larger ; but it is not unlikely 
that in him the rate of brain-growth so far exceeded the rate 
of expansion of the cranial box, that the resistance offered by 
the walls of the latter induced the complex secondary con- 
volutions or foldings on the brain surface, which gave to his 
brain its individual character. 

By investigating the arrangement of the surface 
convolutions throughout the mammalian series, it 
might be possible to determine whether comparative 
anatomy furnished proof of a continuous evolutionary 
development throughout the whole series. At the 
same time, it might be possible to throw some light 


upon the function of the various parts of the brain 
surface in man by determining whether the cortical 
areas of the human brain had corresponding parts in 
the brains of lower animals. If an arrangement 
common to all animals could be established, it would 
simplify the whole question of experimental investi- 
gation into the function of the different areas of the 

In the early sixties, when Turner commenced his 
researches, precise information regarding the functions 
of the cerebral cortex had not as yet been obtained, 
consequently exact knowledge as to the localisation 
of disease in the brain was still in its infancy. The 
modern era of experimental physiology which was 
to advance so rapidly through the work of Fritsch 
and Hitziix, Huorhlin<rs Jackson, Ferrier, Beevor and 
Horsley, Schitfer and Sherrnigton, had not yet arrived. 
The localisation of the centre for spoken language 
had, indeed, just been accurately determined by Broca 
in the posterior third of the left inferior frontal con- 
volution, as the result of the 'post-miortem dissection 
of the brain of a man who had been the subject of 
aphasia (loss of power of speech). It is interesting to 
record in this connection that four years later (1866), 
Dr Sanders, Physician to the Boyal Infirmary, Edin- 
burgh, and afterwards Professor of Pathology in the 
University, was the first to record in this country a 
similar case of aphasia, proving by autopsy Broca's 
localisation of the speech centre. Sanders was in- 
debted to Turner for assistance in the elucidation of 
the anatomy of the case by the examination of a 
series of specimens of the brains of man and apes 
which the latter had prepared. 

It was obviously necessary that the topography of 
the convolutions should be carefully ascertained and 
their areas delimited before any exact analysis of their 
function could be determined. The earlier investi- 
gators, Vicq d'Azyr, Gall and Spurzheim, Bolando, 
Arnold and others, having confined their labours to 



the study of the fully-developed brain, were met with 
clifHculties which this limited method of research could 
not overcome. The adoption of two further lines of 
investigation was now beginning to throw additional 
light upon the dark places in the arrangement of the 
brain surface, to aid in unravelling its complexities, 
and in discovering some order and method in the 
pattern of the convolutions. The study of the de- 
velopment of the brain in the human embryo, and 
the comparative study of man's brain with that of 
the mammalia, were two methods of anatomical re- 
search of the hisfhest value in this connection. To 
Gratiolet of Paris belongs the merit of approaching 
the subject by tracing the gradual appearance of the 
convolutions from the smooth -brained marmoset mon- 
key, through that of the more complex brain of the 
orang and chimpanzee to man himself; and, in this 
country, the labours of Huxley, George Rolleston, 
Marshall, and Flower had materially advanced our 
knowledge of cerebral topography. 

Turner's investigations into the comparative anatomy 
of the brain dealt mainly with a study of the cerebral 
convolutions in the carnivora, in the whales, the seals, 
apes, and man, his object being to harmonise the 
arrangement of the convolutions in these orders. 

His general conclusions upon a subject which he 
had worked at for so many years were finally summed 
up in his address to the Anatomical Section of the 
Tenth International Medical Congress held in Berlin 
in August 1 890. A smooth surface, characterised by 
the absence of convolutions, is the universal type of 
all brains in an early stage of their development. In 
some Orders, such as the Insectivora — e.g., the Hedge- 
hog and the Mole — the smooth-brained surface is pre- 
served throughout life most perfectly in all families ; 
in others, such as the Rodents — e.g., the Beaver and 
the Rabbit — though almost entirely smooth-brained, 
traces of subsidiary shallow fissures upon the surface, 
indicative of an early stage in the formation of con- 


volutions are found in some of the genera. Other 
Orders again, such as the Montremata, the duck-billed 
Platypus and the spiny Ant-Eater — the lowest in the 
Mammalian scale — and the Marsupials — e.g., the 
Opossum and the Kangaroo — contain species with 
both smooth and convoluted brains. The most com- 
plex arrangement of the convolutions is seen in the 
Elephants, the Whales, the Seals, and the Monkeys, 
and finally in Man ; but even in some of these Orders 
there are a few species in which the surface of the 
brain is either smooth or only feebly convoluted. 

While certain general features in the plan of construction 
characterise the arrangement of the convolutions in all these 
animals from the simplest to the most complicated, neverthe- 
less, from the study of the surface of the hemispheres in the 
whole series of mammalia, it is obvious that the convolutions 
do not exhibit a progressive and continuous development from 
the lower mammals through the apes to Homo. There is no 
evidence to sanction the view that there has been a con- 
tinuity of evolution. On the contrary, the brain follows 
apparently in each Order its own plan of evolution. Hence 
in the comparison of the brains of mammals with each other, 
diversities of plan are recognised which make it impossible 
to determine precisely homologous fissures and conv^olutions 
in the whole series of animals with convoluted brains. 

The homologies of the cortical areas of the cerebrum, 
therefore — in many instances at least — must be looked 
for rather in the similarity in microscopical structure 
and in function, than in any morphological arrangement. 

Turner, like other anatomists in Scotland in the 
past, Barclay, Knox, and Goodsir, and like his friend 
John Struthers, fell a victim to the study of the 
anatomy of the whale. From her geographical position 
between the North Sea and the Atlantic, Scotland 
was most favourably situated for the acquisition of 
the means of carrying on this line of investigation. 
Her firths and estuaries, her island groups to the 


north and west, with their bays and intervening 
straits and channels, offered special facilities for the 
capture of these ocean mammals, which found their 
way into the shallow waters in which they were 
stranded. The Firth of Forth has proved a happy 
hunting-ground for these marine monsters, nob only 
in modern times but even in prehistoric days, before 
land and sea had assumed their present level. In the 
old "raised beaches" of the Carse land in the upper 
reaches of the Forth, many specimens of the fossil 
bones of the whale have been dug out of the soil 
in the process of road- and drain-making, or during 
the tilling of the ground in ordinary agricultural 
pursuits, and along with these cetacean remains, im- 
plements made of deer's horn, probably used by the 
Neolithic people for cutting up the blubber. 

He has given us in his descriptive catalogue upon 
'Marine Mammals,' published in 1912, an historical 
account of the finding of many of their remains. The 
earliest and most complete discovery of the kind was 
made at Airthrey, near Stirling, in 1819 ; the length 
of the whale whose fossil bones were dug out of the 
25-30 foot raised beach, was roughly estimated at 
about seventy-two feet. The bones became the nucleus 
of the Natural History Collection now exhibited in the 
Royal Scottish Museum in Chambers Street. The 
first naturalist to write a detailed account of the 
large whales frequenting the Scottish seas was Sir 
Robert Sibbald, one of the founders of the Royal 
College of Physicians of Edinburgh. He gave a very 
precise description of the Great Rorqual, seventy-eight 
feet in length, which was stranded in the Forth in 
1692, a typical specimen of the great whale now 
appropriately named Sibbald's Whale (Balaenoptera 
Sibbaldi). From his own observations, Turner was 
led to regard the prehistoric Airthrey whale as 
identical with Sibbald's. 

In the Anatomical Museum of the University of 
Edinburgh, Turner has brouojht toe^ether and described 


a collection of Marine Mammals which, in the number 
and variety of the species it contains, ranks next to 
that of the British Museum and the Museum of the 
Koyal College of Surgeons of England ; while in the 
species of whales frequenting the Scottish waters, 
the collection is second to none. It includes thirty- 
three different species, twenty-one of which had been 
stranded, or otherwise captured, off the Scottish coast. 
In addition to his own labours as a collector, he owed 
much to the enthusiasm and the generosity of many 
friends : to Sir Wyville Thomson and Sir John 
Murray, the naturalists of the Challenger expedition, 
to Sir John Struthers, a keen collector like himself, to 
Dr W. S. Bruce of the Scotia Antarctic Expedition, 
to Mr John Anderson of Hillswick, Shetland, and his 
three sons, and to many students and graduates, 
especially Dr Robert Gray, who from time to time 
took part in the Scottish Whaling Expeditions to 
the Arctic Circle. 

To the biologist the fascination of whale study lies 
in the fact that they are animals essentially con- 
structed on the plan of a land - living quadruped, 
which had become adapted to an aquatic life. The 
modifications in mammalian structure, connected with 
this complete change of habits, constitute for him one 
of the great charms in the study of these mammals. 
When their origin is regarded from the point of view 
of evolution, the hypothesis might be advanced that 
the whale was descended from some pre-existing land 
mammal which assumed aquatic habits, and that, in 
course of time, it lost the structures which were not 
necessary to it in its new habitat, while it came 
gradually to acquire structures essential to its altered 
surroundings. The rudimentary organs with which 
it was furnished were not to be looked upon as parts 
which were developing, but as parts in process of 
disappearing through want of use. " Such specula- 
tion from the very nature of the subject was incapable 
of being demonstrated, but it threw some light upon 


the probable signification of parts and arrangements, 
which witliout its aid would have been meaningless 
and devoid of interest, and it assisted the biologist in 
forming some conception of the affinities which bound 
together different groups of animals." 

Turner worked at their structure and classification, 
and did much to elucidate points which had previously 
been somewhat confused. His studies on the Cetacea 
began in 1866, with a dissection of the Pilot Whale, 
one of a school which visited the Firth of Forth in 
that year. His interest, however, w^as still further 
increased when, in 1869, a splendid specimen of 
Sibbald's Great Finner Whale was stranded in Long- 
niddry Bay. Eighty feet in length, it weighed approxi- 
mately about seventy-four tons. The whale aroused 
keen interest in Edinburgh and the neighbourhood, 
and special trains were run to Longniddry to enable 
the public to inspect it. Sam Bough, the w^ell-known 
Scottish artist of that period, portrayed it in colours, 
and his sketch found a permanent place on the walls 
of Turner's study. The animal was afterwards towed 
across the Firth to Kirkcaldy, whither Turner and his 
assistant, Dr James Foulis, followed it in the pursuit 
of science. Sir James Russell has told us how they 
accomplished feats of observation and dissection of a 
somewhat hazardous nature. Foulis was obliged to 
part with his suit of clothes, while Turner, although 
more cautious, found that his footprints were an object 
of interest to all the dogs that crossed his path. At 
any rate, we know that in his desire for knowledge his 
health suffered at this period, as it did at no other 
time in his life. 

From that date, many opportunities were afforded 
him of prosecuting his'^ studies, not only upon the 
whales, but upon other members of the Great Cetacean 
Order— the grampus, the porpoise, and the dolphin ; 
the sea-cows, the dugong, and the manatee from the 
coastal waters of the more tropical seas ; the walrus. 


the sea-lion, and the seals. One recalls his evident 
delight and interest in the performances of a large 
school of whales which disported itself off the Labra- 
dor coast when, on the afternoon of a lovely August 
day in 1897, the Allan liner Parisian, carrying many 
members of the British Association to Toronto, gradu- 
ally approached the Canadian shores. The sun shone 
down from an almost cloudless sky upon a sea hardly 
rippled by the faintest of western breezes. Away over 
the steamer's bows the rocky coast of Labrador loomed 
ever nearer, while dotted, here and there, over the 
wide expanse of waters were innumerable icebergs and 
floes varying in shape and size, and glistening in the 
rays of the sun. Suddenly, right ahead, great columns 
of water were observed to rise from the surface of the 
sea, resembling more than anything else the fountains 
playing in the gardens of Versailles, but on a more 
extended scale ; and as the ship steamed forwards, she 
was soon in the midst of the animals who were thus 
disporting themselves, and from the high forecastle 
deck it would have been easy to have dropped a 
stone upon more than one of the monsters, so close 
were they to the ship and so near to the surface of 
the water. How many there were it was impossible 
to say, but the whole scene left a picture upon the 
mind which time has not eradicated, and it was jok- 
ingly suggested by Captain Barrett, the commander, 
that he had arranged the spectacle for the special 
entertainment of his scientific guests. 

The voyage was a memorable one for other reasons 
than those just narrated. The sliip carried a human 
freight of great intellectual value. Seldom, if ever, 
have so many men of scientific reputation crossed the 
ocean together under one command, and the question 
was frequently discussed by those on board as to the 
effect which would be produced in the world of science 
at home if a catastrophe should overwhelm the liner 
and her passengers. Conspicuous on deck was the 


^'eiiial piesence of Lord Lister, the retiring President 
of the British Association, while Sir John Evans, his 
successor in oflSce, became a familiar figure. The 
soldierly bearing of Sir George Robertson of Chitral 
fame attracted attention, and Mr F. C. Selous on his 
way to the " Rockies," recounted his experiences of 
big -game shooting in Africa. Sir William Ramsay, 
the discoverer of the new atmospheric gases, Helion 
and Argon, found relaxation in deck quoits and 
humorous anecdote. Canadian bishops returning 
from the Lambeth Conference, and riflemen from 
Canada fresh from their successes at Bisley, mingled 
with the groups of both sexes in their daily constitu- 
tional on deck. Had it been possible to read in some 
crystal globe what the future held in store for at least 
four of the voyagers, it would have disclosed to us four 
future Principals of British Universities, because in 
addition to Turner, the list of passengers contained 
the names of three who were afterwards to become 
known as Sir Oliver Lodge, Sir Donald Macalister, 
K.C.B., and Sir J. Alfred Ewing, K.C.B., Birming- 
ham, Glasgow, and Edinburgh. 

The occupants of no fewer than thirty-four Chairs 
in Universities and Colleges sat down almost daily 
in the saloon, and along with them were others who 
have since attained professorial status. Anatomists, 
biologists, and physiologists : chemists, botanists, and 
physicists : the geologist, the mathematician, and the 
engineer, for a time forgot their calling, and became 
ordinary travellers, anticipating fresh experiences in 
the New World. It was not to be wondered at 
that the commander fully appreciated the increased 
responsibility of his position upon that eventful 

Amongst Turner's papers there are a number of 
letters, indicating not only his interest in Cetacean 
research, but showing how many men recognised the 
fact and supplied him with information, while others 
sought his assistance in determining difiicult points. 


Lhanbryde, Dec. 26, 1912. 

I thank you kindly for the presentation copy of your book 
upon Marine Mammals, which I received safely. I cannot 
help telling you of my luck. 

I read in an Aberdeen paper an account of the finding of 
a strange fish ! After reading the description twice, I came 
to the conclusion — genus Grampus ! I started on Monday for 
Ross-shire by train, and got home the same night with com- 
plete head and arm of the beast. 

It was a full-grown female grampus, lOi feet long. It was 
creamy white all over (just like a white whale) and no trace 
of grey. The skull is 20 inches long, and the pectoral fin 26 
inches : dorsal fin 18 inches high, so there is no doubt of its 
being Risso's Grampus. Is there a white variety in the 
Arctic ? There was no " calf." It is the first I have seen in 
the flesh, and I think the first in the Moray Firth. 

I had a note from Mr Wallace, Honorary Curator of the 
Inverness Museum : he says, " I have ordered Sir William 
Turner's book." So you see we are getting on in the North. 

William Taylor. 

A letter from Sir Joseph Hooker had evidently 
interested him and had been preserved. 

Kew, December 25, 1872. 

Many thanks for your most interesting paper on the whales. 
The variable nature of the beak of Ziphuts Cavirostris re- 
minds me how variable all greatly developed organs are in 
plants ; in other words, that when an organ is normally more 
highly developed in a species than in its congeners, it is very 
variable in that species. 

Your appreciation of Owen's skill as a descriptive natumlist 
is very just. 

The antiquarian interest of the Sperm Whale is new to me. 
No doubt it was rare always in our seas, or we should find 
more weapons made of the tooth, which would have been 
used as the Walrus tooth now is in the north. 

I sometimes wonder why more remains of the great arctic 
mammals do not occur in the glacial drift. The attention of 
the hoped-for Arctic Expedition should be called to the con- 
ditions under which they occur in the uninhabited regions : 
the Esquimaux no doubt make away with the remains. 

I have just found a few odd copies of my paper on Wei- 


luitschid, and .shall address one to you for acceptance. Since 
itfi publication I received buds which I have placed in young 
Macnab'a hands for study, and he has just communicated a 
t^ood paper on tlie development of the floral organs to the 
Linn;ean Society. He regards the ovular coat as carpellary, 
a very obscure point. 

With best compliments to Mrs Turner. 

Jos. S. Hooker. 

Turner maintained a very active interest in the 
growth of the whaling stations in the Shetland Isles, 
which, during the last fifteen years, have developed 
into a considerable national industry. Every year a 
large catch is made, the crews of the vessels engaged 
being mainly Norwegians, while the labour in the 
shore factories is largely carried on by British hands. 
The money value of the products obtained in 1914, 
from the animals captured upon these stations, reached 


SCIENTIFIC WORK (continued) — anthropology. 

Anthropology — Sources of material — Methods of study — Prehistoric 
man— The missing link — Aboriginal hill tribes in India — The 
peoples of Tibet — Of the PaciKc Archipelago — The Maoris — 
The Australians — The Tasmanians. 

Anthropology — the science of mankind — or, as 
Turner preferred to define it, the science of the 
races of man, though not the youngest of the themes 
of human inquiry, had, until the latter half of the 
nineteenth century, failed to take a well - defined 
position in the biological world, possibly on account 
of the somewhat indeterminate character of the 
science. An additional stimulus, however, was un- 
doubtedly given to its study by the publication of 
the 'Origin of Species.' 

In its restricted sense, anthropology implies the 
relation of man to the other mammalia ; but in its 
most comprehensive meaning it covers a much wider 
field — man's origin, his fossil and prehistoric remains, 
his history, geographical distribution, and racial classi- 
fication, his language, his physical and mental differ- 
ences, while his moral being and social welfare must 
also be included within the full scope of anthropo- 
logical research. To the inhabitants of Great Britain 
with her overseas dominions and dependencies, peopled 


with various races of men, the study of anthropology 
should make a strong appeal. 

Although an Ethnological Society had been founded 
in London in 1844, it was not until the year 1863 that 
an Anthropological Society was established in this 
country. The two Societies have since been incor- 
porated in the Royal Anthropological Institute. The 
British Association for the Advancement of Science 
did not consider the subject to be entitled to the 
dignity of a separate Section until 1884, in which 
year the Association held its meeting in Montreal, 
when Section H, Anthropology, met for the first time 
under the presidency of the distinguished scholar, Dr 
(afterwards Sir) E. B. Tylor. Previous to that date, 
the subject had been discussed for the first time by 
the Association in 1846, under the title of Ethnology, 
as a subsection of Zoology, and later in association 
with the Geographical Section. It was replaced, 
however, as a distinct Department under the title 
Anthropology, in connection with Biology, at the 
Nottingham meeting in 1866. When the Associa- 
tion met in Edinburgh in 1871, Turner was chair- 
man of the Department, and on two subsequent 
occasions, at Newcastle in 1889, and again in Toronto 
in 1897, he was President of the Section. 

In the eighteenth century Linnaeus, the Swedish 
naturalist, had assigned to man a place in Zoological 
classification. The Frenchman, Bufifon, had described 
the physical characters of peoples, their varieties in 
form, feature, and colour, but from want of sufiicient 
material he had been unable to arrive at a proper 
conception of Race. Blumenbach of Gottingen, at 
the commencement of the nineteenth century, with 
the most complete collection of skulls in Europe at 
his command, utilised craniology as a method of in- 
vestigation, and established for the first time the 
basis of Ethnology, or the science of Races. It was 
not, however, until the middle of the century that 
Anders Retzius of Stockholm, with a collection of 


crania even finer than that of Blumenbach, deter- 
mined the basis of cranioloofical classification, 

Paul Broca, in his learned address to the members 
of the Anthropological Society of Paris in 1863, dis- 
closes the reason why the science had not made more 
progress before the earlier years of the nineteenth 
century : — 

The hour had not yet come ; the means were not at hand ; 
Comparative Philology had just made its debut; Archseology 
had not extended beyond the confines of Western Europe ; 
the twin sisters, Palaeontology and Geology, were as yet 
scarcely able to walk. But within half a century the soil 
has been prepared upon which to build. The impassable 
Egyptian Sphinx has revealed his mysteries : the antiquities 
of America, these patents of nobility of a world which we 
cannot any more call new, have displayed before our eyes 
unexpected marvels : Nineveh and Babylon, exhumed from 
their coflBns, now speak again . . . Africa, always inhospit- 
able, has ceased to be impenetrable : the Australian continent 
has been explored. European ships carry our seamen and 
missionaries and our philosophers to every coast. Nearly all 
the peoples upon the globe have been observed and described ; 
our museums have received their remains and casts ; skulls 
and skeletons have rendered the study of the most distant 
races accessible to the sedentary philosopher. 

The comprehensiveness of the science has made it 
wellnigh impossible for any single individual to do 
more than apply himself, with any degree of thorough- 
ness, to one particular branch. Turner directed his 
studies to the physical side of anthropology. As an 
anatomist and biologist, calling to his assistance a 
study of geology and archceology, he worked to 
correct, to add to and to complete, so far as his 
material permitted him, the classification of human 
races upon a physical basis. Concentrating his at- 
tention largely upon craniology and the other bones 
of the skeleton, he made tliis line of research the 
basis of his anthropological studies. His museum, 
founded by the Monros and Goodsir, and enriched, 
as we have seen, by the efforts of his pupils and 


friends, provided him with skulls representing all 
the races of the world, while further very valuable 
material was obtained from the staff of H.M.S. 
Challenger, on her return from a voyage of scientific 
research and discovery round the world. 

At a time when the laying of the submarine 
telegraph cables was undergoing rapid development, 
public interest became aroused in the exploration of 
the ocean depths : the nature and composition of the 
sea bottom ; the presence or absence of animals cap- 
able of destroying the covering of the wires ; the 
temperature of the water through which the cables 
might have to pass, were matters of the highest 
importance. A committee of the Royal Society 
addressed a letter to Mr Goschen, the First Lord 
of the Admiralty, urging upon the Government the 
despatch of a circumnavigating expedition, thoroughly 
equipped for investigation of the great ocean basins. 
The project was cordially approved of, and on 
December 20, 1872, the Challenger sailed from 
Portsmouth under the charge of Captain George S. 
Nares, R.N., upon a voyage which was not completed 
until 1876. The chief of the civilian scientific staif 
was Professor, afterwards Sir Wyville Thomson, who 
temporarily vacated the Chair of Natural History in 
the University of Edinburgh, in order to superintend 
the work of the expedition. Amongst his colleagues 
were Mr John Murray (Sir John Murray, K.C.B.), 
upon whom devolved the publication of the Challenger 
Reports, Mr J. Y. Buchanan, and Mr H. W. Moseley, 
in whose hands the scientific investigations were 
placed. The skulls and other bones of the skele- 
tons which were collected at the various ports of 
call were entrusted to Turner for purposes of descrip- 

Yet one further source of material must be referred 
to — namely, the craniological collection of the Hender- 
son Trust. Under the guidance of George Combe, the 
phrenological doctrines and methods of Gall and 


Spurzheim had been keenly discussed and advocated 
in Edinburgh, and a valuable collection of skulls from 
various parts of the world had been formed under the 
auspices of the Phrenological Society. They became 
the property of the Henderson Trustees, and were 
housed in the Anatomical Museum of the University. 
The Craniological Department, the " Golgotha " of the 
Museum, thus came to be one of the finest in the 
country, containing no fewer than 1700 skulls repre- 
sentative of all the races of mankind inhabiting the 

Turner's chief contributions to Anthropology are 
contained in the Zoological series of the Reports on 
the Scientific Results of the Voyage of the Challenger, 
in which he deals with the comparative osteology of 
the Races of Men, and in a series of Memoirs pub- 
lished in the Transactions of the Royal Society of 
Edinburgh, as contributions to the Craniology of the 
People of the Empire of India ; of the Natives of 
Borneo, Formosa, and the Malay Peninsula ; the 
Craniology, Affinities, and Descent of the Aborigines 
of Tasmania ; the Craniology of the People of Scot- 
land, modern and prehistoric, descriptive and ethno- 
graphical. His work in this connection covers a 
period of fifty-two years, as we find him describing 
at the meeting of the British Association in New- 
castle in 1863, a prehistoric skull found in the valley 
of the Somme near Amiens, and in 1915, reading his 
paper upon prehistoric Scottish crania before the Royal 
Society of Edinburgh. 

The titles of his various communications hardly 
convey a true impression of the wide field which 
his work covered. While he handled the dry bones, 
and measured them with all his accustomed accuracy 
and care, his researches were by no means limited to 
the mere descriptive anatomy which this entailed. In 
his imagination, he must have pictured many lands 
and climes, and allowed his mind, too, to dwell 


upon their living inhabitants. Esquimaux and Lapps 
from the ice - bound shores of the Arctic Circle ; 
Mohawks, Cherokees, and Siwash from the banks 
of the Ottawa River and the Great American Lakes ; 
Patagonians and Fuegians from the rocky wind-swept 
shores around the Horn ; Negroes and Hottentots, 
Kaffirs and Bushmen from the sun-bathed African 
veldt ; Chinese from Eastern Asia, tribes from the 
Himalayan slopes, hillmen from the upper waters 
of the Brahmaputra ; Burmese, Siamese, and Malays, 
and the many native tribes occupying the islands of 
the Indian Archipelago and the great oceanic groups 
of the Southern Pacific — all furnished him with a 
rich and varied field of study. His thoughts dwelt 
also upon the life-history of the living person whose 
skull lay before him — his origin, descent, and affini- 
ties ; his language ; his habits and customs ; his 
stature ; the pigmentation of his skin ; the colour of 
his eyes and hair, and the shape and arrangement 
of the latter ; his migration by sea or land, and his 
possible intermingling with other peoples. The dry 
bones were thus made to live, and to form an im- 
portant link in the chain of evidence forged for the 
purpose of establishing their place in the history of 
mankind. His knowledge upon most of these points 
was acquired by extensive reading, and from informa- 
tion derived both from correspondence and from inter- 
course with men who had travelled far, and had been 
in contact with the races whose bones he studied. 
His papers reveal the extent of his knowledge, and 
of his acquaintance with similar work previously 
carried out by others ; they show the careful way in 
which he made use of the information thus acquired, 
in building up or pulling down the various hypo- 
theses already advanced regarding the origin and 
affinities of many of the peoples coming under his 

It is very characteristic of his dislike of careless ob- 
servation to find him commenting more than once upon 


the slipshod way in which some travellers wrote of 
what they had seen : ** If many of those who have 
had opportunities of travel and of pursuing geograpli- 
ical discovery had received, before they set out, a 
training in the methods of observing and of record- 
ing the characters displayed by the different races 
of men, we, who have to stay at home, would not 
find so many discrepant statements as to the colour 
of the skin and eyes, the form of the features, 
the character of the hair, and other aspects of 
the external anatomy of the natives of distant 

In any attempt to follow the lines along which 
Turner worked, and in order to obtain a correct appre- 
ciation of the deductions that he drew from the great 
mass of facts which he accumulated, it is necessary 
to have some conception of the scheme which he kept 
before him. More than any man of his time, he helped 
to build up a scientific knowledge of human races upon 
a solid foundation. When he was investisratine: vari- 
ability in human structure, he wrote as follows : " In 
the development of each individual, a morphological 
specialisation occurs in internal structure and in ex- 
ternal form by which distinctive characters are con- 
ferred, so that each man's structural individuality is 
an expression of all the constituent parts of his frame." 
Can the same proposition be applied to the study of 
race ? Has a specialisation of structure of form and 
proportion taken place in each of the different races to 
such an extent as to stamp them too with definite 
anatomical characters ; and if so, are the numerous 
variations to which the bones are liable so fixed and 
so constant as to enable the anthropologist to con- 
struct a classification of the races of man upon an 
anatomical basis ? He formed the opinion that suffi- 
cient evidence existed to justify him in saying that 
racial differences, capable of being determined by 
anatomical methods, did exist, though as yet we were 



not able to speak with absolute precision on all their 
features. " The differences are not limited to colour, 
but are participated in by the osseous skeleton. In 
any given race there is undoubtedly a considerable 
range of variation, which may be estimated by the 
individual differences existing amongst the people of 
that race. In determining, therefore, what are the 
anatomical characters of a given race, the extreme 
forms either in one direction or in another must not 
be taken as guides, but we must take those char- 
acters which appear most frequently in different indi- 
viduals, and these must be designated as the mean 
characters of the race." His investigations into the 
skeletal characters of the different races of men were 
all conducted on this principle, and the conclusions 
at which he arrived express the mean results 

" Owing to the migratory habits of man it is very 
difficult to obtain specimens of a pure or unmixed race. 
The lust of conquest, or the desire to extend commer- 
cial relations or the area for obtaining food, have led 
to a great intermixture of races, not merely living side 
by side but intermarrying with each other. Hence 
have arisen numerous mixed peoples, in whom the 
characters of the original races have become generally 
blended and modified, though individuals may exhibit 
in a form, more or less marked, the distinctive charac- 
ters of one or other of the races from which the mixed 
people have sprung." 

He adopted the method of craniological classifica- 
tion introduced by Anders Retzius, who grouped the 
races into the three great skull tj^pes — the long- heads 
{dolichocephali), the short-heads {brachycephali), and 
the middle-heads {mesaticephali). While the long- 
heads and the short-heads form the two extremes of 
cranium in the human series, they also represent types 
of mankind which differ from each other in many head 
characters other than those expressed by the relative 
length and breadth of the skull. The relation of the 


height to the breadth of the cranium, the cubic capa- 
city of the skull, the relative length and breadth of 
the face, the height and breadth of the orbits, of the 
nose and of the arch of the palate, while the project- 
ing or upright character of the upper jaw — the prog- 
nathous or orthognathous type of face, as it is called 
— have all had much attention paid to them. When, 
with but a slight range of variation, the majority of 
these characters correspond in a particular tribe or 
people, they may then properly be considered as the 
cranial and head characters of the race and be of value 
for purposes of classification. So distinct is each type 
of skull that, when the races are pure, one may say 
that, where the cranium is markedly long-headed, then 
the short-heads do not occur in that race, and vice versa. 
The long-headed African Negro and Esquimaux are 
examples of pure or unmixed races, with their cranial 
and other physical characters so decided, that each of 
these people is distinctively differentiated from all 
other races. Similarly, the short-headed Andaman 
Islanders, the Mongolians, and American Redskins 
are distinguished by definite characters from each 
other, and from other races. 

In the people or races which possess crania of inter- 
mediate proportions, the type may be due either to 
the skulls of individual members of the race generally 
being intermediate in their relative proportions to the 
two extreme forms, or, while some are long-heads, 
others short-heads, the proportion is so distributed 
that the mean of the race is middle-headed. This 
type, represented amongst many others by the people 
of the British Islands and Western Europe generally, 
is without doubt produced by an intercrossing of the 
long- and the short-headed races. There are, how- 
ever, instances of apparently pure races in which the 
normal form of head is that of the intermediate group. 
It is seen in the Bushman of South Africa, with so 
many features distinguishing him from the surround- 
ing people that he would seem to be representative of 


a pure race, not improbably the remains of the primi- 
tive people of the African continent. 

The existence of recognisable variations in the bones 
of the skeleton, other than in the cranium, also reveals 
evidence of racial characteristics. Variations in the 
curvature of the spinal column in the lumbar region, 
variations in the diameters of the pelvis and in the 
sacrum, and relative differences in the length of the 
bones of the upper limb to those of the lower limb, in 
the proportion borne by the forearm to the upper 
arm and by the leg to the thigh, in different races, 
furnish distinctive characteristics, which Turner and 
other anatomists worked out as further bases of 

He has related an incident apropos of cranial classi- 
fication which may serve as an illustration of what 
has just been stated. Racial differences in the char- 
acters of the soft parts of the face are sufficiently 
known to most observers : those who have seen the 
short squat nose with its dilated nostrils in the African 
Negro, the Bushman, or the aboriginal Australian^ 
have no difficulty in distinguishing it from the more 
elongated and projecting nose with its less expanded 
nostrils in the European races. Such differences, how- 
ever, are equally recognisable in the skeleton of the 
white and black races. " I received from Sir Arthur 
Mitchell some skulls which were stated to be from 
Australia. I measured them carefully in the nasal 
region, and they all, with one exception, had the rela- 
tive proportion of length and breadth of nose which 
one ascribes to the Australian blacks, while the excep- 
tional skull was in accordance with the European 
standard. A few days afterwards I met my friend, 
and said to him that I thought there must be some 
mistake as to the locality of one of the skulls, that 
from the dimensions of the nose it could not be 
Australian, and I asked him to look at the specimens. 
He then recognised that by an error a Scotch skull. 
had been sent to me along with the Australian crania." 


Turner's earliest contribution to craniology was 
made in 1863. The recent discovery in Western 
Europe of some more or less fossilised human remains, 
which were regarded as possibly throwing some light 
upon man's antiquity, had naturally aroused public 
interest in the question. The fragments had been 
carefully described by Sir Charles Lyell in his then 
recently published volume upon the ' Antiquity of 
Man,' and by Huxley in his lectures upon ' The Evi- 
dence of Man's Place in Nature.' One, the Engis 
skull, found in a cave near Liege, had associated with 
it the bones of the extinct mammoth, the woolly 
rhinoceros, the cave bear, and some rude flints. Evi- 
dence thus existed of its geological antiquity, proving 
it to be the remains of Palaeolithic man. The Nean- 
derthal skull, discovered in 1857, between Diisseldorf 
and Elberfeld, furnished no such satisfactory proof as 
to the time of its living existence. It was character- 
ised by the marked prominence of its supra-orbital 
ridges, by the low sloping nature of the forehead, by 
the flattened vertex, and the somewhat small occipital 
or posterior convexity of its contour. It became the 
object of much controversy. Did it possess typical 
race characters or form the lowest term of the human 
series, or was it specifically distinct from man, repre- 
senting a transitional or intermediate form between 
him and the anthropoid apes ? 

Turner, who had lately come into possession of a 
skull excavated in 1861, from the quarries of St Acheul 
near Amiens, applied himself to a comparative study 
of the three prehistoric crania, and carefully compared 
them with a number of skulls, both of savage races 
and of modern British specimens. As a result of his 
examination, he had no hesitation in concluding that, 
although it might not be possible to produce another 
skull possessing a combination of all those characters 
which were reofarded as so distinctive of the Nean- 
derthal skull, yet the examination of an extensive 
series of crania showed that its characters closely 


approximated not only to those seen in the crania of 
many savage races now existing, but even in the 
skulls of modern European nations. " How cautious, 
therefore, ought we to be in generalising either as to 
the ape-like affinities or psychical endowments of the 
man to whom it appertained. It is as yet but an 
isolated specimen ; of its history prior to the day of 
its discovery we are altogether ignorant ; its geo- 
logical age even is quite uncertain. In coming to any 
conclusion, therefore, we have no facts to guide us 
save those which are furnished by an examination of 
its structural characters. And whatever marks of 
degradation these may exhibit, yet they are closely 
paralleled in the crania of some of the men, and women 
too, now livinc: and movinof in our midst." 

Thirty-one years later, controversy was agam aroused 
over the question of the " missing link " by the dis- 
covery, in 1894, of fossil human bones in Java. A 
skull-cap, a right upper molar tooth, and a left thigh- 
bone were found by M. Dubois in the Pleistocene allu- 
vial deposits of a river bank. In his memoir upon the 
subject, Dubois announced that he had established the 
existence of a man-like transitional form as a connect- 
ing link between the apes and Homo sapiens. This 
he named Pithecanthropus erectus. Notwithstanding 
the fact that the skull possessed certain characters 
which approximated more to the human type than to 
that of the higher apes — being more spacious, the 
vault more highly arched, the diameters generally 
greater, and the supra-orbital ridges less projecting 
than in the ape — Dubois did not regard it as a human 
skull. The tooth, although larger than the corre- 
sponding molar in man, was not so strongly developed as 
in the gorilla and orang, while the thigh-bone, though 
possessing features of similarity with the human femur, 
presented others which, in his opinion, placed it nearer 
to the thigh-bone of the anthropoid apes. 

It was only natural that statements of this kind 
would stimulate controversy amongst biologists in all 


countries. One of the most notable contributions to 
the discussion came from Turner's pen. Recognising 
that the weak point in Dubois' comparative examina- 
tion was the fact that he had limited it almost en- 
tirely to a comparison with the bones of Europeans, 
neglecting the remains of those of races now dwelling 
under savage conditions, he proceeded point by point 
to criticise the author's deductions. Provided with 
ample material of his own, though only able to utilise 
Dubois' drawings and measurements, he concluded 
that the fossil remains furnished no evidence of a 
new genus or species intermediate between apes and 
man. " The existence of such a transitional form is 
still a matter of speculation, and has not been placed 
on the basis of ascertained fact." There was nothing 
in the configuration of the skull-cap to place it in 
a different category from those of the remains of 
Quaternary man obtained in Europe. 

In a letter to Cunningham, dated Edinburgh, May 
5th, 1895, he writes : — 

I returned to work on the 1st, much the better of my 
holiday. I picked up rapidly in Paris; the weather was 
superb, and the clear dry air most invigorating. 

I have now received the Verdhandlungen der Berliner 
Gesellschaft fiir Anthropologie, &c. ; and on January 19th, 
Dubois' memoir was discussed by Krause, Virchow, and 
others. When in Paris I attended a meeting of the Society 
of Anthropology, and heard a discussion on the same subject 
and my criticism thereon. 

Opinion is divided both in Berlin and Paris as to the 
significance of the remains. The discussion in the French 
Society was, I understood, the second which they had had. 
It will, I suppose, appear in the ne.\t number of the 
' Bulletin de la Soc. d'Anthropolocjie.' I cannot say that 
my opinion is changed by what I have read or heard since 
my paper was prepared, either as to the skull-cap or the 
thigh - bone. The tooth is, I admit, more difficult to 

The French Government have applied to the Dutch for 
a mould of the skull-cap, so that there is a chance of a cast 
being procured in a little time. 


1 had read notices of your tourist traffic meetings, and 
would say that D. J. Cunningham has quite enough in hand 
without undertaking work of that kind. Cook and Gaze are 
the people to organise your tours and traffic. 

I am to give twenty-five lectures this summer on physical 
anthropology, and shall have ten or twelve students. 

W. Turner. 

Writing in 1910, upon the theory of descent, he 
stated : " To account for the origin of man's physical 
structure from a pre-existing lower mammalian form, 
the pedigree of his body requires to be traced further 
back than the existing anthropoid apes. It is possible 
that Pithecanthropus may represent a stage in the 
process of evolution, and from the dimensions of the 
skull-cap and the apparent capacity of the brain-case^ 
it is in more direct line with existing man than 
with any form of ape with which we are at present 

It is not without interest for the reader to glance 
at some examples of the further use which Turner 
made of his anthropological material, and to note the 
lines of reasoning along which he worked. His main 
object, as w^e have said, was to determine racial affin- 
ities or differences based upon physical characteristics 
as evidenced in the skull, and in the skeleton in 
general. By an examination of the skeleton, and 
more particularly of the skull, data are furnished 
which demonstrate beyond doubt either racial affinity, 
or the contrary, between different peoples. External 
characters of resemblance may be noted, but they do 
not necessarily imply affinity of race. So, too, a com- 
mon language must not be regarded as a reason for 
assigning similarity of race between two peoples. 
Examples are not unknown of a people having lost 
its original tongue, and speaking a language acquired 
from another race, with which it had been brought into 
intimate contact throug^h conquest or immigration. On 


the other hand, when a common language is associated 
with similarity of skull types, additional support is 
brought to bear upon the affinity of race. Archaeo- 
logical remains, too, cannot be overlooked in consider- 
ing the question of descent, and must be given their 
proper place in the whole scheme of things. 

His investigations into the craniology of the people 
of India dealt entirely with the aboriginal wild tribes 
occupying the hills and plateaux, who, preserving 
more or less completely their religion and tribal 
customs, were distinct from the Hindus who lived 
in and cultivated the valleys and more fertile plains. 
But where the Hindus have come into more im- 
mediate contact with the aborigines, the latter, while 
retaining to some extent their ancient forms of faith 
and customs, have in other respects adopted the 
Hindu religion and modes of thought. 

These tribes, extensively distributed through the 
Madras Presidency, the hill ranges of the Central 
Provinces, Orissa, and the hill tracts of Western 
Bengal, are known as the Dravidians and Kolarians : 
this classification has been made by writers on philo- 
logy and ethnology upon linguistic grounds. But 
it by no means follows that tribes speaking a 
Kolarian dialect are racially distinct from those who 
speak Dravidian. From his examination of the skulls 
of the tribesmen of both groups, Turner drew the 
conclusion that, for descriptive purposes, all the 
tribes may be classed as Dravidian : they presented 
the long type of head with many other features in 
common — characters which gave support to the view 
that all of them possessed an essential structural 

It has been assumed that the Kolarian invaders 
had preceded the Dravidians and had migrated into 
India through the north - east passes, wandering 
southwards into the Madras Presidency, while the 
Dravidians had found their way into the Punjab 
by the north-western routes, spreading thence into 


Central India. They are regarded as older inhab- 
itants than the Aryans, who are thought to have 
entered India, more than 4000 years ago, from the 
Hindu Kush, the Pamir Plateau, and the high 
valley of Kashmir, and, in their head characters, 
they undoubtedly contrast with those of the later 
Aryan invasion. As to whether India had been 
occupied by a people even more ancient in origin 
than the Kolarians, evidence has accumulated, from 
time to time, of the existence of both palaeolithic 
and neolithic implements and remains. " While we 
can scarcely expect to trace a direct continuity be- 
tween the present aborigines and these prehistoric 
men who manufactured the primitive palaeolithic im- 
plements, it is worthy of consideration as to whether 
some of the existing hill tribes may not be descend- 
ants of the people of neolithic times. Of the hill 
tribes which I have described, one at least, the 
Juangs, are without doubt the most primitive, and 
from the evidence collected by Colonel Dalton, who 
regarded them as representatives of the New Stone 
Age people, there seems to be little reason to consider 
them otherwise." 

Many ethnologists of great eminence have regarded 
the aborigines of Australia as closely associated with 
the Dravidians of India, while some also consider the 
latter to be a branch of the great Caucasian stock 
and aflSliated therefore to the Europeans. If these 
two hypotheses are to be regarded as sound, a re- 
lationship between the aboriginal Australian and the 
European would then be established through the 
Dravidian people of India. The opinion regarding 
the racial unity of Australian and Dravidian has been 
based upon the employment by both peoples of certain 
words apparently derived from common roots ; by 
their use of the boomerang ; by the possibility that 
the Indian peninsula had, in a previous geological 
age, a land connection with the Australian-Malayan 
Archipelago, and by certain correspondences in the 


physical types of the two peoples. Both Dravidians 
and Australians have dark skins approximating to 
black; dark eyes; black hair, either straight, wavy, 
or curly, but not woolly or frizzly ; thick lips, with 
low nose and wide nostrils. But when the skulls 
are compared, there ought not to be much difficulty 
in distinguishing the one people from the other. The 
Australian skull is longer, heavier, and with a more 
receding forehead, and the jaw is distinctly more pro- 
jecting ; while the cranial capacity of the Australian 
skull is less than that of the Dravidian. Though 
corresponding in some particulars, they differ in 
others ; and from a comparative study of his two 
series of crania, Turner was led to conclude that they 
furnished no evidence in support of the theory of the 
unity of the two peoples. 

The people inhabiting Tibet, a country so long 
jealously guarded against the intrusion of Europeans, 
interested him. Even before the British expedition 
to Lhasa in 1904, under the command of Sir Francis 
E. Younghusband, the district had been penetrated 
by adventurous travellers. The Tibetans were re- 
garded by these explorers as essentially of one race, 
resembling the Mongolian peoples. They were seen 
in the semi-nomadic pastoral tribes, though in the 
towns and villages there was evidence of inter- 
mixture with the Chinese in the north, and with 
the natives of India in the south and west. The 
pastoral tribes were short - headed, flat - faced, and 
oblique-eyed, presenting the Mongolian type. But in 
Eastern Tibet, in the province of Kham, the British 
expedition had disclosed a type of men never 
observed in the central and western areas. They 
constituted the bravest portion of the Tibetan army. 
Showing little of the Kalmuck features, they were 
long-haired and hazel-eyed, with well-formed profile 
and liofht- brown skin. Their skull measurements fur- 
nished additional proof of distinctive race characters. 


as the Khaiii warriors were long-heads and presented 
other cranial features distinguishing them from the 
Tibetans, Whence came the long-headed people of 
the Kham province? 

To the east of Tibet and in relation to the mountain 
ranges north of Burma, where the Brahamaputra and 
Irrawady rivers had their source, there lived a people 
speaking closely connected languages and dialects, a 
Tibetan - Burmese stock. An examination of their 
physical characters and of the configuration of their 
skulls was of value as possibly throwing some light 
upon the origin of the Eastern Tibetan tribe. Turner 
had opportunities of studying both the Kham warriors 
and the skulls of the hill tribesmen upon the North- 
Eastern Frontier of India, and while the latter pos- 
sessed in the main a Mongolian type of feature, their 
skulls were long-headed or closely approximating to 
that standard. As in other skull features also, they 
corresponded closely to those of the Kham warriors, 
craniology supported the view, emphasised in this in- 
stance by affinity of language, that both belonged to 
a common stock, the elements of difference between 
them being no greater than might be found in the 
skulls of people of the same race. 

He also had evidence to show that the tribes of 
this north-eastern mountainous district had pene- 
trated southwards into Burma many centuries ago. 
He had examined skulls from an old cemetery in 
Burma, which were obviously long-heads and quite 
distinct from the short -headed modern Burmese 
people. In the course of the ages, these long-heads 
had become displaced by the short-headed Burmese, 
allied in all probability to the Chinese. It has been 
generally assumed that a Mongolian type of feature 
is exclusively associated with the short-headed skull, 
because the best - marked Mongolian races are un- 
doubtedly of that type, or closely approximating to it. 
But in the hill tribes living to the north-east of India 
and with a prevailing Mongohan aspect, the short- 


heads are the exceptions and the long-lieads are the 
prevalent form. Hence, Mongohan type of feature 
is not necessarily associated with one type of skull. 

If we turn to the great aboriginal races of the 
Pacific islands, two well-defined peoples come under 
consideration : the Papuan - Melanesians occupying 
New Guinea and the island groups to the immediate 
east and south — New Britain and the Solomons, the 
New Hebrides and the Loyalty Islands, the Fiji, the 
Admiralty group, and New Caledonia. The natives 
are characterised by their sooty-brown or black skin, 
black frizzly hair and well-developed beard, consti- 
tuting in the main a long-headed people, while a 
certain proportion of short- and intermediate-heads 
indicate the presence of more than one race of men. 
The Polynesians, on the other hand, occupy the more 
easterly islands — the Sandwich group towards the 
north ; the Marquesas, the Society and Cook's Islands, 
Samoa and the Friendly Islands, the Ellice Islands, 
and New Zealand in the south. They are distin- 
guished by their skin of light brown or yellow hue, 
by their straight black hair and scanty beard, and 
the short-headed type of skull. 

That the two peoples in the Pacific have mixed 
is evident. A general survey of the islands estab- 
lished upon a sufficiently broad basis the important 
fact, that in comparatively few of the islands or 
groups of islands are the crania restricted either to 
a simple long-headed or short- headed standard. Both 
forms do, without doubt, occur in their pure state, but 
along with them, skulls of mixed or intermediate 
proportions are not infrequently mingled. These 
variations can be sufficiently accounted for on the 
theory that the two races, Melanesian and Poly- 
nesian, are in some islands pure, in others mingled 
with each other, either in distinct colonies living side 
by side in the same island, or by intermarriage ; 
though on the western side of the Pacific region 


the sliort-headed Malay and Negrito, inhabiting the 
islands of the Indian Archipelago, have, without doubt, 
exercised an influence in modifying the crania and 
other characters of some of the islanders in that region. 
As to which was the older race, it was difficult to 
say. Turner, however, had formed the opinion that 
the Pacific islands generally were, at some remote 
period, inhabited by the long-headed Melanesian race, 
which in several islands had been replaced by the 
Polynesians, in others intermingled, while in others 
the race had retained its pristine purity. 

It is interesting in connection with this point to 
study the descent of the Maoris. The traditions of 
the New Zealanders, the study of their language by 
philologists, and the observations on their external 
characters by Captain Cook and other voyagers, have 
all combined to lead to the conclusion that the Maoris 
are an offshoot of the great Polynesian race, while 
their traditions point to Samoa as the group of 
islands from which they had sprung. If this view 
of their origin be correct, then we should expect that 
their cranial characters would correspond to those of 
the people from whom they had originated. But 
Turner's investigations upon this point show that there 
is a strong tendency in the Maori skulls to assume 
the long-headed proportions — though a small per- 
centage are short-heads — and thus they depart from 
the pure Polynesian type. The conclusion, therefore, 
to which he came from a study of the skulls, gave 
support to the view that New Zealand had been 
occupied by a dolichocephalic (long-headed), and pro- 
bably Melanesian race before the Polynesian element 
had been introduced. 
^ Although craniological research into the distribu- 
tion of the Melanesians and Polynesians furnishes a 
large mass of facts, yet it does not overtake all the 
ethnological problems presented by the study of the 
anthropology of this extensive and widely scattered 


There are certain residual quantities of which it is not 
possible to give a satisfactory explanation, on the supposition 
that these were the only races which had ever occupied the 
Pacific islands. There are the remarkable archaeological 
monuments which have been found upon some of them. Of 
these, the megalithic remains on Ponap6 or Ascension Island, 
the megalithic platforms, stone houses, and colossal stone 
sculptures of the human figure on Easter Island, the curious 
cruciform stone platforms on Maiden's Island, and the mega- 
lithic monuments on Tongatabu and some of the Gilbert 
Islands, are the most noticeable. The natives appear to have 
no traditions of the construction of these massive remains, 
and to be themselves unable to erect similar objects. The 
question therefore arises, have they so far degenerated from 
some higher grade of intellectual development as to have lost 
both all memory of the deeds of their ancestors and the 
power of executing such works, or did these owe their origin 
to some pre-existing race which inhabited the Pacific region ? 
We cannot look to Australia, as a centre of migration to the 
northwards, of a race possessing a higher culture and civilisa- 
tion capable of architectural design and execution, for the 
aboriginal Australians are, in their intellectual development 
and knowledge of useful arts, much below either the Mela- 
nesians or Polynesians, and, moreover, they are not a sea- 
faring people. Neither does it seem probable that, if these 
remains had been constructed by early Polynesian settlers, 
all memory of them would have departed, for there is ample 
evidence on many of the islands inhabited by the Polynesians, 
of the propagation by oral tradition throughout hundreds of 
years of the valorous acts of their great chiefs. 

Various theories have been advanced as to the origin of 
the brown Polynesians. They have been regarded by a few 
as of American descent, and as having difiused themselves 
over the eastern islands of the Pacific in the course of the 
trade winds. Most writers have regarded their origin as 
Asiatic. Some of these consider that they are derived from 
the Malays ; others again consider that both Polynesians and 
Malays sprang from a common Asiatic stock, and that they 
both migrated from this centre along independent routes to 
their respective geographical areas. Mr W. H. Ranken con- 
siders that this stock was Mongolian, as oblique eyes are 
common in Samoa, and in Tahiti many a Chinese labourer 
might be mistaken for a native. Others again think that we 
are to look to Hindustan for the origin of the Polynesians. 
Others have accounted for the people of the Pacific, both 


Polynesians and Melanesians, on the theory, so ably advocated 
by Darwin, that the Pacific is an area of subsidence, "and its 
iToat widespread groups of coral reefs mark out the position 
of former continents and islands," and that " the races of men 
now inhabiting these countries are therefore most probably 
the descendants of the races which inhabited these islands 
and continents." 

Dr Kraus accounts for the Melanesian people of the Pacific 
by supposing that ir^ prehistoric times a great south oceanic 
continent existed, which extended from the east of Africa up 
to the Indian Ocean, over which the black race spread south- 
wards into both Africa and the South Seas, to their present 
habitat. The deep-sea investigations of the Challenger, as 
well as the absence of characteristic continental rocks in 
oceanic islands, have, however, by the demonstration of the 
great depth of the Pacific and Indian Oceans, and by the 
apparent absence of any great changes in the bed of these 
oceans since Tertiary times, thrown great doubt upon the 
possibility of such an extensive continent ever having had 
any existence in either the Indian or Pacific Oceans. 

As regards the hypothesis of Mr Wallace — that the brown 
and the black peoples are merely varying forms of one great 
oceanic race, the diversities of which are to be accounted for 
from "the old but certain effects of the varying physical 
conditions which have resulted in the present state" of the 
surface of the land in Oceania — it is difficult to understand 
wherein such varying physical conditions could exist in 
islands subject to such uniform or closely allied climatic 
conditions as the New Hebrides and Friendly Islands, even 
on the supposition that they had at one time been the tops 
of continental mountains, so as to produce in one a black- 
skinned, frizzly-haired, long-headed stock, and in the other a 
brown-skinned, straight-haired, round-headed people. 

The descent and affinities of the aborigines of 
Australia and Tasmania, two peoples differing as they 
do from each other, undoubtedly present an ethno- 
logical problem which has been much discussed and 
variously interpreted. The aboriginal Australian, as 
he is known to-day, is of moderate stature, with black 
hair, straight or wavy and relatively long, and his 
skin is of a chocolate-brown colour ; he is markedly 
long-headed with projecting brows, his cranial vault 


dome-shaped, but possessing a small cranial capacity. 
In the now extinct Tasmanian, on the other hand, 
shorter in stature than the Australian, the hair was 
more definitely black, and of the short, woolly, frizzled 
type ; the skin black or very dark-brown ; he also 
was long-headed but with brows less prominent than 
in the Australian, while his small cranial capacity 
placed him in the microcephalic group. Two peoples 
presenting such obvious distinctions in the characters 
of their hair and the colour of their skin could not 
be regarded as of one and the same race. 

The Australian in his racial characters may 
therefore be distinguished from the long - headed, 
mop - haired, black - skinned Melanesian ; from the 
short -headed, brown -skinned Polynesian; from the 
short -headed, straight black -haired, yellow -skinned 
Malay; and from the short -headed, woolly -haired, 
black-skinned, dwarf-like Negrito. Many ethnologists 
of eminence have regarded him as closely associated 
with the Dravidian aborigines of India ; but, as we 
have seen, Turner was unable to support that view, 
though he does not appear to have been able to trace 
the Australian descent. 

The question of the affinity of the now extinct 
Tasmanians is not without interest to the inhabitants 
of Britain, as they occupied a land which, like our 
own island in its previous relation to the continent 
of Europe, was once continuous with the island- 
continent of Australia, before its separation by 
the comparatively narrow and shallow Bass Strait. 
The consideration of the fauna of Tasmania, more 
especially the Marsupial mammals occupying both 
Australia and Van Diemen's Land, supports the view 
of the previous continuity of the two countries. In 
considering the origin of its human inhabitants, and 
putting on one side the possibility that they were a 
distinct species of man, as some anthropologists have 
maintained, there remains the theory that the Tas- 
manian aborigines were descendants from immigrants 



from other parts. As the islands to the south were 
not populated, the migration would necessarily have 
been from the north. 

The whole question of their descent is one of great 
complexity and difficulty. Two theories have been 
discussed : was Tasmania originally colonised by the 
people of New Guinea by immigration through 
Australia or from some of the Oceanic islands in the 
Pacific ? If colonised through Australia, presumably 
the migration took place across the once existing 
continuous land bridge. If colonised, on the other 
hand, from the Oceanic islands, we must look for 
evidence as to whether they, and presumably their 
ancestors, possessed suitable transmarine craft for 
conveying themselves across large tracts of ocean. 
If such had existed in the days of their ancestors, 
there is no evidence to show that the art of con- 
structing capacious sea-going canoes had been trans- 
mitted to their descendants. If we accept the view 
that the Tasmanian immigration took place while the 
country was still linked up with Australia, we are 
at once met with the Important differences in the 
external characters of the two peoples, and it becomes 
impossible to accept the descent of the Tasmanian 
from the aboriginal Australian as we know him 

To the north of the Australian continent, New 
Guinea and the Asiatic islands reaching westwards 
from it were occupied by the dwarf- like race of 
Negritos, with whose physical characters the Tas- 
manian in some important respects resembled, though 
in stature he was not a dwarf It would appear that, 
at one time, Asia and Australia had been connected 
through the chain of islands lying between them. 
It was possible, therefore, that the original dwellers 
in Australia owed their descent to a primitive Neo-rito 
stock which had wandered across the island-continent 
and found their way into Tasmania before the separa- 
tion of the land. But while the fauna were identical 


in the two countries, the human element when Tas- 
mania was discovered was not the same. On the 
hypothesis that both lands had originally been peopled 
by Negritos, that race had disappeared from Australia, 
and the straight -haired people now known as the 
aborigines had taken its place. The absence of the 
latter in Tasmania, however, would point to the 
separation of the island thousands of years ago, before 
the new Australian race had reached the southern 
seaboard of the continent. 

"Tasmania thus isolated, its inhabitants were pre- 
cluded from intermixture with other races. Close 
interbreeding was thus necessitated, which during 
the centuries and in a limited population would in- 
tensify, perpetuate, and give permanency to physical 
and other characters which might arise from time 
to time amongst them, and would accentuate differ- 
ences between them and the parent stock from which 
they had sprung. Hence, the Tasmanians would 
assume characters which would give them the aspect 
of a race distinct from the other races in more or 
less proximity to them. The evidence seems to be, 
therefore, in favour of the Tasmanian descent from 
a primitive Negrito stock which migrated across 
Australia, rather than by the route of the Melanesian 
Oceanic islands lying to the north and east of the 
Australian continent." 




Prehistoric and modern inhabitants of Scotland — Conclusions re- 
garding the races of men — Skulls of St Andrew and Robert 
the Bruce — Origin of term, ravenbone — Summary of scientific 
work — Distinctions and honours. 

Turner's work upon the races of men was not con- 
fined entirely to the study of aboriginal hill tribes- 
men, to the Esquimaux and the denizens of Africa, 
and to the natives of the Indian and Pacific Archi- 
pelagoes. One of his most important lines of research 
was upon the Craniology of the People of Scotland, 
the first part of which, published in 1903 — the year 
in which he resigned the Chair of Anatomy — was a 
study of the characters of the crania of the modern 
Scottish people. Prior to its appearance, no system- 
atic descriptive account of Scottish crania had been 
written, though isolated observations had been made 
by Sir Daniel Wilson, Barnard Davis, Cleland, and 
Sir William Flower. Turner had begun to form his 
collection many years earlier, recognising the neces- 
sity of acquiring suflicient material if satisfactory 
deductions were to be made ; at the same time, he 
took pains to ascertain, so far as was possible, the 
exact localities from which the skulls were obtained. 
His collection of Scottish crania numbered one hun- 
dred and seventy-six. 


A letter which he received from Huxley in 1865, 
is not without interest in this connection : — 

London, Nov. 18, 1865. 

I know that you are a sufficientlj'^ busy man to be able 
to forgive me for being dilatory in the matter of correspond- 
ence, but I thank you very much for your last letter and 

Your Australian pelvis fits in perfectly with the series of 
measurements of male Australian and Papuan pelves, which 
I had already obtained. I drew attention to the remarkable 
peculiarities of the Australian pelvis in my Hunterian Lec- 
tures two years ago, and especially to the small size of the 
intermediate diameter, and all the measurements I have met 
with since have borne out the statements I then made. 

It would appear from what you say about Scottish skulls 
that Thurman's rule about English crania applies north of 
the Tweed — " Long barrows, long skulls ; short barrows, short 
skulls." What we want now mainly is a set of careful 
measurements of a couple of hundred Scottish skulls of 
known localities. 

When you are looking at crania, will you have the good- 
ness to note any cases in which the frontal and maxillary 
bones come into contact in the inner wall of the orbits, so 
as to separate the lachrymal bone from the pars plana of the 
ethmoid. I have noted two or three cases, but it seems to 
be a very rare occurrence. In the union of the pars plana 
and lachrymal, the Orang and Man resemble one another 
and differ from the Gorilla and Chimpanzee. 

I quite agree with you about the anthropologi.sts. They 
are a pestilent set of scientific snobs and incapables ! 

T. H. Huxley. 

It was not until the end of 1915, a few months 
before his death, that Turner completed his memoir 
upon the Scottish people, by publishing a second 
comprehensive article upon the prehistoric crania, in 
which he discussed the prehistoric peoples of Britain 
in their general ethnographical relations. It furnishes 
ample evidence of his acquaintance with the geology 
and archaeology of North Britain, derived in part 
from his own observations, but amplified by the work 
of his friends, Professor James Geikie, Sir Arthur 


Mitchell, Dr Joseph Anderson, Dr Robert Munro, and 
Mr A. O. Curie. 

During the thirteen years of his office as Principal 
he devoted many hours to his craniological investi- 
gations, notwithstanding the administrative duties 
which his position demanded of him. He regarded 
his scientific work as a form of relaxation, and the 
completion of his study upon the Scottish crania gave 
him the greatest satisfaction. During his last summer 
vacation in August 1915, which he spent in North 
Wales, he finished the correction of his proof-sheets, 
while residing within a few miles of Peny Gwyrd, 
where fifty -nine years before he had spent another 
August holiday completing his translation of Yirchow's 
Cellular Pathology, in the preparation of Paget's 

In order to obtain a correct estimation of the geo- 
logical age of many of the skulls which he examined, 
it was necessary that he should know something of 
the manner of their burial. For this purpose he 
visited the scene of a number of the Scottish excava- 
tions which were made from time to time, and he 
examined for himself the character of the soil, the 
shape of the tombs, the position of the skeletons 
which they contained, and the other contents of the 
graves. His earliest experiences were gained in 1864, 
when he accompanied Sir James Simpson, an archse- 
ologist of no mean reputation, to the Catstane field 
at Kirkliston, where Mr Robert Hutchison of Car- 
lowrie was engaged in excavating the long cist 
burials. From these graves Turner obtained four 
imperfect skulls, which formed the first specimens 
of his own collection of early Scottish crania. 

In Scotland, as in other countries, man existed 
before the time of written history. ^ In Western 
Europe, of which Great Britain formed an integral 
part, the remains of prehistoric man have been found 

1 Sir William Turner on Prehistoric Man in Scotland. Lecture at 
the Royal Institution. 


in association with those of the great mammals then 
extant, and along with them, the rudely chipped and 
fashioned flints, and portions of bone and horn made 
from the large mammals, the implements of his hand. 
These tools and the men who made them, belonged 
to Palseolithic times, the Pleistocene or Quaternary 
age of the Geologist. Palneolithic man wandered into 
Britain along the bridge of continuous land which 
then united it with the Continent. He was distinctly 
a long-head, with strongly projecting frontal ridges, 
as the Engis and other skulls testify. 

Although recent evidence has been adduced by the 
finding in the Tertiary gravel-beds of fractured flints 
which, according to some observers, show marks of 
design, the case for man's existence in the Tertiary 
or pre-Palseolithic days can hardly as yet be regarded 
as proven. We know not, therefore, whether man 
lived in Europe before the Ice Age. 

Although geology can tell us that in Palseolithic 
times man lived upon the earth, it can furnish no 
precise statement as to the date of that period in the 
world's history. While in Scotland, the interglacial 
beds have yielded remains of the mammoth, the red- 
deer and the Irish elk, no trace either of Palaeolithic 
man or of the work of his hands has been discovered. 
If he ever did exist in North Britain — and there is 
no reason why he might not have migrated north- 
ward from England — the grinding effect of the second 
ice-sheet over the surface of the land, and the wearing 
away of the alluvial deposits, would obliterate the 
relics of the interglacial period. The absence of 
massive limestone caves, such as are found in England 
and in which his bones were preserved, affords suffi- 
cient explanation of the reason why he has not been 
discovered north of the Tweed. It is possible, how- 
ever, that some day traces of Palseolithic man may 
yet be found in Scotland. 

We must look, therefore, to a period subsequent 
to the melting of the second great ice-sheet for evi- 


dence of the existence of early man in Scotland, and 
although there is no trace of him during the forma- 
tion of the 100-foot beach or terrace, one can speak 
with certainty of his presence during the period of 
formation of the later beaches. At the edge of the 
Carse lands of the Forth estuary in the 45-50 foot 
raised beach, the shell mounds or kitchen middens 
of Neolithic man have been brought to light, along 
with the skeletons of the large whalebone whales 
and implements made from the horn of the red-deer. 
In the basin of the Clyde and in the Carse clay of 
the Tay estuary, dug-out canoes have been found 
embedded. No human skull or skeleton, however, 
has been seen along with these relics, the oldest 
evidence of the handiwork of man in Scotland. 

In the caves formed by the action of the waves 
at the period of formation of the 25-30 foot beach, 
the first traces of human remains in Scotland are 
found. In the rock shelters situated in the clitf 
which bounds the esplanade at Oban Bay, bones 
representing human skeletons, along with those of 
the red and roe-deer and many other animals were 
unearthed in 1869. Other caves in the same district 
have been opened at later dates. The presence of 
polished stone implements and shallow vessels of 
coarse clay associated the human remains with 
Neolithic man, obviously of the same race as the 
builders of the English long barrows. 

The question has frequently been discussed, whether 
on the Continent as well as in Britain, the Palaeolithic 
race had become extinct before the advent of the 
Neolithic, or whether they had co-existed and the 
Neolithic people in course of time had displaced them 
without destroying them. With climatic changes the 
large mammals, their cotemporaries, had disappeared ; 
but man, with his greater power of adapting himself 
to changes in environment, probably survived, and it 
is possible, therefore, that Neolithic man brought with 
him into North Britain a strain of Palaeolithic blood. 


derived from intercrossing in more genial southern 
climes, with the Palaeolithic peoples who had preceded 
him. He entered Britain from the Continent possibly 
before the disappearance of the continuous land bridge, 
but if the intermediate strait had formed, then he 
crossed in coracles and dug-outs, though it is difficult 
to conceive that his domestic animals could have been 
thus conveyed along with him. But a secondary land 
bridge may have become elevated, across which the 
migration took place. 

Hence the Scottish people have a long ancestral 
descent, modified in type throughout the centuries by 
a succession of invasions from the continent of Europe. 
Their ancient Neolithic ancestors, the people of the 
polished Stone Age, possibly with a strain of Palaeo- 
lithic blood, were short in stature, but not dwarfs ; 
they were the builders of the Long Barrows in Eng- 
land and of the Chambered Cairns in Scotland, and 
they knew not the use of metals. Inhumation was 
their more common practice, but cremation was em- 
ployed. Their crania were long and relatively narrow, 
of a purely dolichocephalic type ; the face was long in 
relation to the breadth, the nose was narrow and the 
upper jaws did not project. If the conjecture be 
correct that they were descended from the South 
European people of the Mediterranean basin, then 
their skin would have been brunette, the hair jet- 
black, and the eyes black or dark-brown. 

The recognition of ores, the discovery of the methods 
of extracting metals in order to provide a more suit- 
able material for the manufacture of implements and 
weapons than the flint, stone, and bone already in use, 
marked important advances in the development of 
human intelligence. Neolithic man was followed by 
the people of the Bronze Age, of a different type : the 
builders of the Round Barrows in England and the 
short Cists in Scotland, amongst whom cremation was 
at first an occasional accompaniment of inhumation, 
but subsequently became general, thus giving a marked 


character to their interments. Evidence of inhuma- 
tion and cremation has been found in excavations all 
over Scotland, so that there is abundant information 
that she had her Bronze Age. As the ores of tin and 
copper do not occur in North Britain, they were doubt- 
less brought from the southern part of our island, and 
were substituted for the more primitive materials pre- 
viously employed. As in the Neolithic period, there 
is no evidence of the buildings which can be distinctly 
regarded as dwelling-places for the men of this time, 
but there is ample proof in the cinerary urns and in 
the short stone cists, or coffins, of the manner of their 
interment. Along with ashes and human skeletons, 
articles of bronze and gold were found, and in addition 
to the metallic objects, implements of flint and stone 
have been discovered in many of the localities ex- 
amined, indicating that in the earlier occupancy of 
Britain by the Bronze Men, their weapons and tools 
resembled those of their Neolithic predecessors. 

In stature the men of the Bronze Age were, as a 
rule, taller than their predecessors, though, in some of 
the cists, shorter skeletons have been obtained. Their 
crania were shorter and relatively broad, a brachy- 
cephalic or short-headed people, but in some of the 
short cists, as in the English Round Barrow burials, a 
proportion of longer skulls occurred, indicating that 
the Neolithic people had commingled with their short- 
head successors. The face was short in relation to its 
breadth, the nose was narrow, and the upper jaws did 
not project. On the supposition that they were 
derived from the Mid-European Alpine stock, the hair 
was probably dark-brown or black, the eyes brown or 
hazel, and the skin a pale brunette. The short-heads, 
for more than a thousand years, occupied Britain from 
north to south, and from east to west. They were a 
most important factor, which persisted during later 
invasions and is in evidence at the present day. 

In the course of centuries, the Bronze Age people 
ceased to be the dominant race in Britain, and they 


were followed by successive invasions of other races 
from the Continent — the Celts, the Norsemen, the 
Anglo-Saxons, the Danes, the Romans, and the Nor- 
man-French. The Celts, as their immediate successors, 
introduced the use of iron implements, so that the 
Iron Age gradually displaced the Bronze. Coming 
from Gaul and the country of the Belgae, and perhaps 
intermarrying with North European tribes bordering 
upon mid- Europe, they became a mixed people. Owing 
to their habit of cremation, archaeology does not offer 
much evidence of their physical characters, though the 
more recent opening of cists in Mid- and East-Lothian, 
containing human remains and objects of the Iron 
period, have enabled Turner's old pupils and assist- 
ants. Professors Bryce and Waterston, to show that 
the crania approximated to the long type of head. As 
a race, however, there was no uniformity, as short- 
heads, long-heads, and heads of intermediate propor- 
tions existed. 

Subsequent invasions of Scotland by the Pvomans, 
and the conquest of England by the Norman-French, 
exercised no permanent influence upon the physical 
character of the people. The Norsemen, on the other 
hand, from the three Scandinavian countries of 
Northern Europe, have left their relics upon various 
parts of the coast, and an account of their burials in 
Caithness, Sutherland, the Orkneys and Shetlands, 
has been given by Dr Anderson. Implements and 
weapons of iron, various objects in bronze, and silver 
ornaments have been found, and the skeletons in some 
cases would appear to have been encased within wooden 
frames held together with iron rivets, as if tlie Viking 
had been buried in his ship. The Viking burials in 
Scotland have, unfortunately, given few opportunities 
for measuring the skulls of the Norsemen. The type, 
however, was that of a long-headed race with a pro- 
portion of short-head comrades ; they were tall in 
stature, with fair skin and hair, and with blue eyes. 

At the close of the Roman occupation in the fifth 


century, the Anglo-Saxons from Jutland, Schleswig- 
Holstein, the Frisian Coast and the Netherlands, 
conquered the greater part of England, and found 
their way along the Eastern coast of Scotland, colon- 
ising the Lowlands and the Lothians, superseding the 
Christian worship with their Pagan rites, like the 
Danes who followed them. These people were, in a 
large measure, of Norse descent, though the Saxon 
element had doubtless undergone some intermixture 
with mid-European people. 

Turner thus describes the modern Scot : — 

Owing to constant intermarriage amongst these races in 
the course of centuries, it has become difficult to discriminate 
in the densely-populated areas of the British Isles the several 
strains of blood. Where the inhabitants are fewer in number 
and, through local conditions, scattered and relatively isolated, 
evidence of descent from an original stock or stocks can be 
traced. The characters of the modern Scottish crania present 
their own individual points of interest. The skull is gene- 
rally capacious, with the mean cubic capacity in the male 
exceeding that of the female : it belongs to the type occupying 
the intermediate position between the long-heads and the 
short-heads, though a strong brachycephalic strain prevails, 
probably evidence of their Bronze Age ancestry. The face is 
high in relation to the width, the nose is prominent, long and 
narrow : the lower jaw has a well-defined angle and a pro- 
nounced chin. From intermarriage, a mixed and virile 
people have been evolved, endowed with physical frames 
capable of great endurance, provided with and acting under 
the governance of brains of energy, quality, and volume, 
which have enabled them to gain and retain a dominant 
position among the nations. 

Turner's general conclusions upon the races of men 
and his attitude towards the part played by evolution, 
so far as ascertained anatomical facts justified him in 
going, are summed up in the following paragraphs 
abstracted from more than one of his addresses : -^ — 

' Address to the Royal Medical Society, Edinburgh. Presidential 
Aldress, British Association, Bradford, 1900. 


We have no knowledge at what period of time the great 
divisions of mankind came into existence. We do know, how- 
ever, that it was long before any written history. The 
ancient monuments of Egypt have carved or painted on them 
types of certain human races as distinct as those which now 
inhabit the earth, and which show that when a race preserves 
itself from intermixture it can secure a permanency of type. 
These races must have existed long before such monuments 
were constructed. But whilst we speak of different races, or 
of distinct types or varieties of man, we must not be led away 
with the idea that these races, or types, or varieties are dif- 
ferent species. The anatomical differences between them are 
not such as to justify that conclusion, and further, all the 
races of mankind are fruitful with each other, and can beget 
fruitful offspring. They are to be put into the same category, 
as regards their mutual relationship, as the various breeds or 
varieties of oxen, sheep, or other domestic animals. 

The perpetuation of anatomical differences in a race is an 
illustration of the great physiological law that the peculiarities 
of the parent are transmitted to the offspring, so that, whilst 
room is permitted for individual variation, the mean characters 
of the race are retained from generation to generation. To 
some extent, undoubtedly, the habits of a race will affect the 
configuration of the skeleton. Within certain limits the forms 
of the bones are without question influenced by the muscular 
apparatus which is attached to them. If, then, the habits of 
life of one race call into play some special group of muscles, 
which are not, through a difference in habit, so constantly 
employed in another race, then I have no doubt that the form 
of the bone, not merely as regards the prominence of the 
processes to which the muscles are attached, but the relative 
area of the surfaces of attachment, would undergo a corre- 
sponding modification. 

But muscular action is not the only force that has to be 
considered as exerting an influence upon the skeleton. Weight 
and pressure also play an important part, especially in the 
spinal column and the pelvis, though these parts of the skele- 
ton also have their form and curvatures materially influenced 
by the action of the muscles. I believe, therefore, that we 
may in some degree ascribe the differences in the configuration 
of the skeleton in various races of men to the influence of 
habit operating through muscular action and pressure upon 
the bones when in a comparative plastic condition, and in the 
course of years moulding them into the form which they pre- 
sent in the adult man. But although this explanation may, 


I think, be accepted as accounting for some of the differences 
which one sees in the slceletons of different races of men, there 
are others which it is more difficult to explain. 

The cranial bones are subject to pressure — viz., the pressure 
of the growing brain, which so closely tills the cranial cavity ; 
and it may be said that the form of the cranium is determined 
by the direction in which the brain grows. But if we were 
to accept this as a sufficient explanation of the force at work 
in producing these different forms of cranium, there would 
still remain to be accounted for, why the brain should grow 
proportionally more in breadth in one than in another race. 
These differences in the relative length and breadth of the 
skull, with its contained brain, are not of necessity associated 
with a small size of skull and brain in the one form, and a 
larger skull and brain in the other. For amongst the long- 
headed races we find some with large brains and vigorous 
intellects ; others with much smaller brains and feeble intel- 
lectual powers, and similar differences exist amongst the 
short-heads. In all probability the growth both of the skull 
and brain is regulated by the same force, whatever that may 
be. The box and its contents both grow contemporaneously, 
and the bones are moulded on the organ which they enclose. 

The differences in the form of the skull which are expressed 
by the terms dolichocephalic, brachycephalic, and mesati- 
cephalic are not confined to existing races. Although our 
knowledge of the races which inhabited the earth in the 
early part of the human period is very imperfect, yet, in 
various parts of Europe, crania have been found in deposits 
which belong to the glacial period. Of these very ancient 
skulls, some are long-heads, others short-heads, and others 
are intermediate in form. Whatever may have been the cause 
which originally occasioned the divergence of the two extreme 
forms — dolichocephalic and brachycephalic — the types would 
become perpetuated by hereditary descent. In various other 
respects also, the skeletons of primeval man exhibit characters 
similar to those which are found in more than one race of 
existing men, so that we may say that the differences which 
have as yet been recognised in the skulls and skeletons of 
primeval man are no more, either in degree or kind, than are 
to be seen in the corresponding parts of the men of the pres- 
ent day. 

In the examination of the skeletons of existing races of 
men, characters at times present themselves in some races, 
which one recognises as more in accordance with the ordinary 
mammalian arrangements, than is the case with the corre- 


spending parts of other races. These characters are sometimes 
spoken of as degraded, or animalised, or ape-like. From the 
point of view of the theory of evolution they would be re- 
garded as marking a stage, or stages, in the evolution of the 
human organism, from a form or type lower than man, to the 
most perfectly developed condition of the human skeleton, or 
as reversions from a human to a lower mammalian type. 
Undoubtedly they do express a stage in the evolution of the 
individual man. 

Descent and habits are therefore two great factors to be 
considered in the study of the variations which one meets 
with in the skeletons of ditterent races of men, and of the 
causes which have induced them. It would be difficult to 
assign to each of these factors its exact value in the produc- 
tion of the variations, and the line between them cannot 
indeed be sharply drawn. For a variation originally engen 
dered by habit in a race may be perpetuated, after the habit 
has ceased to be practised, through the influence of hereditary 
descent ; although it is not unlikely that, under such circum- 
stances, the variation would become less strongly marked in 
successive generations, and perhaps in time disappear. Con- 
versely also, the influence of hereditary descent might be 
more or less neutralised by the introduction of some habit, 
the eftect of which would be to produce a variation in a 
direction diflerent from that which has been hereditarily 

It is not possible to fix with absolute certainty the geologi- 
cal epoch when man first appeared on the face of the earth. 
We know nothing of primeval man in those parts of the 
globe which are now inhabited by the black and yellow races, 
and we cannot fix tlie period when the pigmentary difl'er- 
entiation took place which led to the production of their 
characteristic colour of skin and hair, and to the modifica- 
tions of the skeleton which we find them to exhibit. Skele 
tons of prehistoric men have been found in various parts of 
America, and the crania belonging to them are in some cases 
long-headed, in others short-headed, in others of intermediate 

From the examination of the skeleton in the diflerent races 
of men, so far as we have had opportunities for making a 
comparison, we should not be justified in stating that any 
single race, or any group of I'aces, was in all the relations of 
the skeleton more highly developed than the rest ; or that 
any other race, or group of races, in all its skeletal relations 
was more lowly developed than all other races. By highly 


developed, I mean a condition of the skeleton which is further 
removed, either from the characters and proportions of the 
skeleton in mammalia other than man, or from the infantile 
condition of the man himself ; and by lowly developed, one 
which is either more closely approximated to the mammalian 
characters and proportions, or to the infantile condition of 
the human skeleton. For, whilst Europeans in many of their 
skeletal characters, such as are exhibited in both skull and 
pelvis, are more widely removed from mammals generally 
than are aboriginal Australians, Bushmen, Negroes, and Kaffirs, 
yet on the other hand, in the proportions of the shaft of the 
lower limb to the shaft of the upper limb, and of the thigh 
to the upper arm, the black races are more widely removed 
from the apes than are Europeans. The tendency to produce 
a thigh-bone with a prismatic shaft, which is the very opposite 
of an ape-like character, is more marked in the Australian 
blacks than in the white and yellow races ; whilst the Lapps 
and Esquimaux, of all the races which I have measured, 
most closely approach the apes in the proportions of the thigh 
to the upper arm, and of the shaft of the lower limb to that 
of the upper limb, they are amongst the races most widely 
removed from the apes in the proportions of the forearm to 
the upper arm, and of the leg to the thigh. The different 
varieties of man, so far as we know them, do not seem, there- 
fore, to exhibit such a graded condition of the skeleton as 
would indicate that by successive stages a human type had 
been produced, which in all its skeletal relations was superior 
to all other varieties of man ; or that the white races, which 
we will assume to be the most highly developed, have been 
derived by successive stages of slow and gradual perfecting 
of all their structures from the lowest existing black race, or 
indeed from any one of the existing black races. 

Various lines of evidence point to the continent of Asia as 
the original home of man, from which he probably spread by 
slow migration over the habitable globe. Whether he did or 
did not originate by a process of evolution from some ape-like 
mammal it is impossible to speak with certainty. Much has 
been advanced, and will doubtless continue to be advanced, in 
support of this hypothesis of the origin of man. But, so far 
as the methods of scientific inquiry will carry us, we have no 
direct evidence. Man's first appearance on the earth is so 
obscured in the mists of a bygone epoch as to be beyond the 
range both of observation and experiment, and from the very 
nature of the case is incapable of being demonstrated. We 
may speculate if we choose as to his mode of origin, but we 


must not forget that our speculations are matters of inference 
only, and their value is to be estimated by the weight which 
one may attach to particular groups of facts. So far, how- 
ever, as the evidence is at present before us, the so-called 
ape-like characters, sometimes described as present in the 
human skeleton, are not such as would lead any competent 
anatomist to mistake a human bone for that of an ape, or to 
say that in the fossil remains of man, so far as we know them, 
the existence of a transitional form between man and the 
higher apes has as yet been discovered. 

We know not as regards time when the fiat went forth, 
" Let there be Life, and there was Life." All that we can say 
is that it must have been in the far- distant past, at a period 
so remote from the present that the mind fails to grasp the 
duration of the interval. Prior to its genesis, our earth con- 
sisted of barren rock and desolate ocean. When matter 
became endowed with Life, with the capacity of self-main- 
tenance and of resisting external disintegrating forces, the 
face of nature began to undergo a momentous change. Living 
organisms multiplied, the land became covered with vegetation 
and multitudinous varieties of plants — from the humble fungus 
and moss to the stately palm and oak — which beautified its 
surface and fitted it to sustain higher kinds of living beings. 
Animal forms appeared, in the first instance simple in struc- 
ture, to be followed by others more complex, until the mam- 
malian type was developed. The ocean also became peopled 
with plant and animal organisms, from the microscopical 
diatom to the huge leviathan. Plants and animals acted and 
reacted on each other, on the atmosphere which surrounded 
them, and on the earth on which they dwelt, the surface of 
which became modified in character and aspect. At last Man 
came into existence. His nerve energy, in addition to regu- 
lating the processes in his economy, which he possesses in 
common with animals, was endowed with higher powers. 
When translated into psychical activity, it has enabled him 
throughout the ages to progress from the condition of a rude 
savage to an advanced stage of civilisation. 

The physical aspect of the question, although of vast im- 
portance and interest, yet by no means covers the whole 
ground of man's nature, for in him we recognise the presence 
of an element beyond and above his animal framework. Man 
is also endowed with a spiritual nature. He possesses a con- 
scious responsibility which enables him to control his animal 
nature, to exercise a discriminating power over his actions, 
and which places him on a far higher and altogether difierent 



platform from that occupied bj^ the beasts which perish. The 
kind of evolution which we are to hope and strive for in him, 
is the perfecting of this spiritual side, so that the standard 
of the whole human race may be raised and brought into more 
harmonious relation with that which is holy and Divine. 

The human intelligence is still in process of evolution. The 
power of application and of concentration of thought for the 
elucidation of scientific problems is by no means exhausted. 
In science is no hereditary aristocracy. The army of workers 
is recruited from all classes. The natural ambition of even 
the private in the ranks, to maintain and increase the reputa- 
tion of the branch of knowledge which he cultivates, affords 
an ample guarantee that the march of science is ever onwards, 
and justifies us in proclaiming that great is Science, and it 
will prevail. 

Turner's intimate knowledge of skulls and bones, 
human and other, led to his being the recipient of 
many osteological remains, often accompanied with 
the request that he would throw some light upon 
their nature and possible origin. But in addition 
to this, his advice was sometimes sought upon 
anatomical matters presenting undoubted historical 
interest. A photograph of a portion of the cranium 
of the Scottish patron saint was submitted to him 
for further information regarding it, on behalf of 
the late Marquis of Bute, who was a distinguished 
archaeologist. Turner received a letter from his friend 
Professor Bell Pettisfrew of St Andrews : — 

The University, Ap^-il 20th, 1895. 

Our Lord Rector, the Marquis of Bute, who is a great 
archsBologist, has sent me a photograph of what remains of 
the head of St Andrew, our patron saint. It is the upper 
part of the head — the bones of the face and lower jaw being 
absent. His lordship is anxious to get any information about 
the head which scientists can give him — shape, size, capacity, 
brain power, phrenological development, probable race, &c. 

The history of the skull is briefly as follows : St Andrew 
was crucified at Patras in the province of Achaia. When 
taken down from the cross he was buried by Maximilian at 


Patras, where he l&y until the Emperor Constantine removed 
him to Constantinople. After the sacking of Constantinople 
in 1204, the papal legate, Cardinal Peter Capuano, who was a 
member of a noble family of Amalfi, brought the remains to 
Italy, and presented them to the cathedral of his native city 
in May 1208. There they remain to this day, with the excep- 
tion of such portions as have been distributed to other religious 

There is a tradition that the head of St Andrew is at Rome, 
and a skull which figures as such is there exhibited. The 
mass of evidence, however, is greatly in favour of the Amalfi 

Of course one might very well doubt the authenticity of 
either skull after the lapse of eighteen centuries, but I give 
you the facts as known to me. As you have paid much 
attention to crania, I thought the accredited skull of St 
Andrew would interest you, and I shall be very glad to have 
your opinion regarding it. J. Bell Pettigrew. 

The photograph, which he received for purposes of 
examination, depicted a skull-cap enclosed in a glass 
shrine, supported upon the shoulders of two small 
cherubs. It was obviously difficult for him to arrive 
at any very precise conclusions as to the type of 
skull thus portrayed, and he was unable to furnish 
Pettigrew with any really instructive facts. The 
skull was evidently that of an aged person of the 
male sex, the sutures between the different bones 
composing it being obliterated. Its two halves were 
symmetrical ; Turner placed it in the brachy cephalic 
or short-headed group. 

In the spring of 1914, while spending his vacation 
in Southern Italy, Turner remained for a few days in 
the old town of Amalfi, and, following his usual custom, 
he visited the cathedral. Anxious as he always was to 
see everything of interest, he descended to the crypt 
below the high altar, and, by the aid of a lighted 
taper, was shown the remains of the bones of the 
Scottish saint reposing in their glass shrine. 

Lord Finlay has related how he drew Turner's 
attention to a criticism which he had read in some 


j)ublication, to the effect that the skull of Robert 
the Bruce belonged to the Neanderthal type. As 
Turner had seen and carefully examined Bruce's skull, 
he was able to give an emphatic denial to the criti- 
cism, pointing out that it was entirely unfounded, 
and that the head to which Scotland owed so much 
was, from the craniologist's point of view, of a very 
good type. 

In 1891, the following communication was addressed 
to him by Mr Adam W. Black, at that time the head 
of the publishing house of A. & C. Black : — 

4 SoHO SQUiiRE, London, 
February 11 th, 1891. 

I must apologise for taking the liberty of troubling you 
with an inquiry which I hope you will excuse my intruding 
upon you. 

In preparing a new edition of Scott's Works for the press, 
our reader has been arrested by the words " Raven bones " in 
the Bride of Lammermoor, and his efforts at finding an 
explanation or definition of the word have hitherto proved 

Dr Murray, the editor of the New English Dictionary, has, 
among others, not been able to throw light upon the word. 
It may be and probably is an old hunting term, but possibly 
it may have been made use of by surgeons or anatomists some 
centuries ago, and if so, you may have come across it. 

The "flankard" — the word immediately preceding it — 
signifies, I believe, the protuberance on the haunch or loin : 
so it is given in the best dictionaries, but all are silent as to 
" raven bones." I enclose you a copy of the passage where 
the term occurs, and if you can oblige me with any explana- 
tion of it I shall regard it as a favour. 

Adam W. Black. 

That he was able to assist Mr Black is evident from 
a second letter he received : — 

London, March 14, 1891. 

I am very pleased indeed to be put in possession of the long- 
looked for definition of " ravenbones." 


The question may now be regarded as completely answered, 
and I beg to thank you for all the trouble you have so kindly 
bestowed in solving it. A. W. Black. 

The word " ravenbones " occurs in the description of 
the hunting scene in the ' Bride of Lammermoor,' 
when Bucklaw proceeds, after the death of the stag, 
to display his skill in the method of cutting it up. 
"Soon stript to his doublet, with tucked -up sleeves 
and naked arms up to the elbows in blood and grease, 
slashing, cutting, hacking, and hewing, with the pre- 
cision of Sir Tristran himself, and wrangling and dis- 
puting with all around him concerning nombles, 
briskets, flankards, and ravenbones, then usual terms 
of the art of hunting, or of butchery, whichever the 
reader chooses to call it, which are now probably 

Turner, in his inquiry, sought the assistance of the 
late Mr Webster, then Librarian of the University 
Library, and as a result of their investigations they 
were able to furnish Mr Adam Black with the required 
information. Unfortunately Turner's letter to Mr 
Black has been destroyed, but in the glossary attached 
to the Dryburgh Edition of the Waverley Novels 
published by the Blacks in 1891, the definition of 
ravenbones is given, and this is believed to be the 
gist of his explanation. It reads as follows : " The 
spoon-bone of the brisket, thrown by hunters to the 
ravens, in cutting up the stag." Turner obtained his 
information by consulting Turberville's 'Art of Venerie,' 
in which the following definition of the term was 
found: "There is a little gristle which is upon the 
spoon of the brysket which we call the Ravensbone, 
because it is cast up to the Crowes or Ravens which 
attende hunters." 

Dr Murray had evidently not given up his search 
for an explanation of the term, as we find Mr Black 
sending to Turner the following passage from Ben 


Jonson's "Sad Shepherd," which he had received 
from the Lexicographer : — 

Rob. Pull'd down and paunch turn'd out. 

Mar. He that undoes him 

Doth cleave the brisket bone, upon the spoon 
Of which a little gristle grows ; you call it — ? 

Rob. The ravens bone. 

Mar. Now o'er head sat a raven. 

Oq referring to the New Enghsh Dictionary, edited 
by Murray, we find that the above quotations from 
Turberville and Ben Jonson have been introduced 
under the definition of Ravenbone. The word 
"spoon" is defined as the hollow at the lower end 
of the breast-bone, the little gristle upon it being 
the " raven's morsell." The student of anatomy is 
more familiar with this as the ensiform cartilage. 

During the long period of sixty-two years Turner 
worked at the science which he loved; from 1854, 
when he read his first paper as a student at St Bar- 
tholomew's before the members of the Abernethian 
Society, to 1915, when he communicated his last 
memoir upon prehistoric Scottish crania to the Royal 
Society of Edinburgh. He very wisely published in 
pamphlet form a complete list of his papers, classified 
according to the subjects treated, with the name and 
date of the Journal or Transactions in which they 
appeared, thus rendering useful service to any one 
engaged upon similar lines of research. The list 
includes 277 papers. 

When we recall the fact that he worked to the 
age of 84 — and the intrinsic value of what he re- 
corded was not lessened in spite of his advanced 
years — we cannot but marvel at his energy. The 
majority of men are ready and willing, and indeed 
justified, as regarding themselves entitled to take a 
well-earned rest at a much earlier age, while some, 


unfortunately, have no choice in the matter. But 
that was not Turner's way. 

His papers upon the Marine Mammals were sixty in 
number, his work in the field of Comparative Anatomy 
and Zoology was recorded in one hundred and four 
papers, while his studies in Anthropology embraced 
fifty-one publications. " Without detracting from his 
contributions to Comparative Anatomy, it may be 
said that it was in Anthropology that his work and 
his influence were most fruitful. To the power of 
his teaching is largely due the eminent position of 
British Anthropology — its richness in detail, grasp 
of principles, and boldness in speculation ; qualities 
in which its onlv rival is the French School." ^ What 
he accomplished in any one of these three lines of 
research might be justly regarded in itself as a 
highly satisfactory performance in his scientific career, 
esjDecially when, as in his case, so many other duties 
demanded his attention. It was characteristic of his 
methods that he could concentrate upon and carry 
through to completion, as far as the material at his 
disposal permitted, all that he undertook. He showed 
no tendency to pass from one subject for the purpose 
of taking up another, which merely presented pros- 
pects of giving more striking results. He worked 
indeed at a variety of subjects ; but the same line 
of thought, the same object in view, can be traced 
through them all — the determination to show by 
ascertained facts that the Darwinian theory, so far 
as it involves hereditary transmission, could be proved 
on an anatomical basis, but that the same basis 
furnished no clear proof of the evolution of new 
species from pre-existing forms. 

He wrote no large text-book upon Human Anatomy, 
which perhaps, in one sense, was a misfortune, if we 
may judge from the high standard of his handbook 
on Human Anatomy and Physiology, which he wrote 
very early in his life, as an extension of his article 

^ 'British Medical Journal,' February 1916. 


on Anatomy in the ninth edition of the ' Encyclopaedia 
Britannica.' He was approached with a view to 
assisting in the production of one of the editions of 
"Quain's" Anatomy, but he held somewhat decided 
views upon the question of collaboration, views which 
he saw no reason to alter later in life. When con- 
sulted by Cunningham on this point, he wrote as 
follows : — 

A number of years ago, the late Allen Thomson spoke to me 
about associating myself with Quain. I gave no encourage- 
ment to the suggestion, as I did not wish to sink my indi- 
viduality under the general heading " Quain," and my idea 
of how I would compile a text-book, were I to undertake one, 
did not coincide with the order and method of Quain. 

The matter therefore went no further, and my ideal text- 
book has not been written. You will see, therefore, how the 
suggestion presented itself to my mind, and I have never 
regretted my decision, for it left me free to pursue my own 
course and line of work. No question arose as to remunera- 
tion, for I did not look to text-book writing as a source of 
income. It seems to me to be a conflict between freedom 
to pursue your own work, and the possible payment to be 
derived from writing for the publishers. 

Whether Cunningham was influenced or not by what 
Turner wrote to him we do not know, but he never 
collaborated in the production of any edition of Quain's 

Turner consistently acknowledged the work pre- 
viously done by others in similar fields of research, 
and one cannot but be struck with his modesty in the 
method of stating the advances which he himself had 

In estimating the value of his scientific work, other 
aspects of it stand out in bold relief, concerning which 
there cannot be two opinions. It is marked by the 
careful manner in which he performed it and by the 
extreme accuracy of his observations ; no detail was 
regarded as too insignificant to record. It may be 
at once assumed that the results obtained from his 


observations were correct, whatever criticism may be 
passed upon the deductions drawn from them. There 
is nothing of a slovenly character in his work, nothing 
hastily or unnecessarily produced, merely for the sake 
of publication. His written words, like those which 
he spoke, expressed his statements in the clearest 
manner and leave no doubt in the mind of the reader 
as to their meaning. He has accumulated a rich 
store of facts in all the subjects to which he devoted 
his attention. Whoever in the future may seek to 
follow along similar lines of research, must of necessity 
consult his writings, from which he will derive not 
only much useful knowledge, but a valuable insight 
into the correct methods by which such knowledge 
may be obtained. 

In a letter dated from University College, London, 
November 1913, Professor Thane wrote : — 

I thank you most cordially for Part IV. of the ' Contribution 
to the Craniology of the People of the Empire of India.' In 
reading it I cannot refrain from the wish that some of our 
younger colleagues could be made to appreciate the value of 
precision in statement, and accuracy in language and expres- 
sion, and not be so anxious to make changes, often pre- 
cipitate and ill-considered, which, it seems to me, are causing 
great confusion, and will continue to do so for a long time to 

I hope that you are well, and that you will continue your 
valuable work, which will persist as fundamental rock when 
the hypotheses of the day have passed away. 

G. D. Thane. 

" Whatever may become of hypotheses," Cuvier 
wrote, "the man who has made a permanent addition 
to our knowledge of facts has rendered an imperish- 
able service to Science." While facts are undoubtedly 
necessary before any deductions can be drawn, the 
mere process of recording such is not in itself a 
sufficient means to an end. " To reach the end, 
facts which are common to groups of detail must be 
carefully sifted out and classified, and expressed in 


general propositions, and then, after all, may require 
to be accepted in a tentative spirit. Science is always 
advancing, and every advance provides a fresh plat- 
form from which a new start may be made." 

Turner's deductions are characterised by a spirit 
of caution and an absence of that ill-conceived specu- 
lation which has not always been based upon a re- 
liable foundation. " He did not confuse the positive 
results of science with the unverified theories which 
may be spun from them." His cautious conclusions 
are always based upon the facts which he accumu- 
lated, and he did not allow his imagination to run 
riot and lead him into propounding hypotheses, which 
he could not substantiate upon the data already 
obtained, though, as he has himself reminded us, a 
touch of imagination is undoubtedly of assistance 
in scientific inquiry. The spirit of caution was an 
innate characteristic of the man which revealed itself 
not only in his scientific work, but in matters of 
everyday life, and in the administrative and financial 
problems with which he was called upon to deal. 
It was not only this natural trait in his character 
that led him to weigh carefully the opinions which 
he expressed upon the scientific facts revealed to him, 
but the further knowledge that in anthropology, at 
any rate, much harm had at one time been done to 
the best interests of the specialty, by many ill- 
judged hypotheses. 

No more fitting tribute has been paid to the 
memory of his scientific achievements than that which 
was accorded to him by his friend, Professor Arthur 
Keith :— 

When the medical history of our times comes to be written, 
Sir WilHam Turner's name will find a place in the very first 
rank. To those who love the spectacular, his work will not 
appeal : like another man, with whom he had much in common 
— John Hunter — he never startled his contemporaries with 
any single outstanding discovery. Yet his life was a con- 
tinuous succession of discoveries. As they were made, he 


fitted them deftly into the mosaic work of acquired and 
growing knowledge. To appraise his life-work at its proper 
value, it has to be viewed not as a series of isolated, often 
splendid, fragments or pieces, but in its proper setting — as an 
intrinsic part of the general progress in medicine, which has 
been made in our time. Like Hunter, he was a builder, not 
restricted to one single line of endeavour, but covering many 
fields. Like Hunter, he built a great museum ; he realised 
that specimens could still live and speak, when the printed 
word was dead. Unlike Hunter, he was a statesman. The 
progress of the community was as much to him or more than 
the success of his own affairs. On the thread of his life are 
strung all the beads of British Anatomy for half a century 
and more. 

The earth may yet disclose her hidden secrets and reveal 
them for man's investigation. Future generations may witness 
the development of some more perfect doctrine than that 
of Darwin. New epochs may emerge and react upon those 
which have gone before, and the origin of all animate creation 
may be presented to us upon a perfect scientific basis of 

Amongst Turner's pupils who were inspired by his 
zeal of work and devoted themselves to anatomical 
study, no one has taken a higher position, or con- 
tributed more successfully to the field of comparative 
anatomy and anthropology, than D. J. Cunningham. 
His memoirs upon the brain, the spinal column, and 
the structure and confiofuration of the skull are ex- 
amples of constructive work of the greatest value to 
anatomists. By his premature death science was 
deprived of one of her most able exponents. Amongst 
his pupils also, who have continued to work in the 
department of anthropology, are Professors Arthur 
Thomson, T. H. Bryce, David Waterston, and R. J. A. 

The honours which Turner received in recognition 
of his scientific attainments were veiy numerous. 
The city of his adoption was not slow to recognise 
the value of his work. He was elected an Honorary 
Member of the Royal Medical and Medico-Chirurgical 


Societies and an Honorary Fellow of the Obstetrical 
Society. The Royal Scottish Academy chose him as 
their Honorary Professor of Anatomy, a position 
which he retained for thirty-eight years, and he was 
the recipient of the Academy's silver medal. He was 
twice elected President of the Royal Physical Society, 
first in 1863 and again in 1885, having the unique 
distinction of holding the office on each occasion for 
four successive years. He became President of the 
Scottish Microscopical Society, and it is worthy of 
note that he did not accept these honours and at 
the same time disregard their responsibilities, but he 
attended the Societies' Meetings and contributed to 
their scientific work. He became President of the 
Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh in 1882. 
He was made Deputy-Lieutenant of the City and 
County of Edinburgh, when his friend Sir James 
Russell was Lord Provost. 

His association with the Royal Society of Edinburgh 
was a long and honourable one. Elected a Fellow in 
1861, he became a member of Council in 1866, and in 
1869 he succeeded Professor Allman as one of the 
Secretaries to the Ordinary Meetings, holding the 
oflBce for twenty-two years, at first, along with his 
colleague Professor Tait, and afterwards with Professor 
Crum Brown. In 1891, he was elected a Vice-Presi- 
dent, occupying the position for ten years. Finally, 
when the Presidential Chair became vacant in 1908, 
through the death of Lord Kelvin, he was appointed 
his successor, remaining in oflnce for five years. The 
Transactions and the Proceedings of the Society bear 
eloquent testimony to the scientific work which he 
contributed, and in their appreciation of it the 
Council awarded him, in 1871, the Neill Prize, and 
again, in 1903, the Keith Prize for his memoirs upon 
the Craniology of the Peoples of India and Scotland. 
Turner was deeply attached to the Royal Society, 
whose welfare was to him second onty in importance 
to that of the University. 


When, In 1906, the National Galleries Bill for Scot- 
land foreshadowed the removal of the Royal Society 
from its old habitat in the Royal Institution in 
Princes Street, Turner took an active part in helping 
to secure the Society's new premises at 22 George 
Street, where it is now accommodated rent free, in a 
building which is Government property, and where it 
receives from the Treasury a grant of £600 per annum. 
The chief merit of carrying out this important reform 
was undoubtedly due to the energy and ability of 
Professor George Chrystal, the Society's General 
Secretary, at the time when negotiations were being 
carried on with the Government. Turner was selected 
as the spokesman of the deputation which interviewed 
the Secretary for Scotland (Lord Pentland), and in a 
powerful speech he so impressed the Government 
with the reasonableness and justice of the claims of 
the Royal Society for suitable accommodation for its 
library and offices, that the matter was speedily 
brought to a satisfactory termination.^ 

Turner was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 
1877, and he became a Member of Council in 1890. 
The Anatomical Society of Great Britain and Ireland 
elected him as their President in 1892, on the resigna- 
tion of Humphry, and the blue ribbon of science in 
this country came to him in 1900, with his election as 
President of the British Association at the meeting 
held in Bradford. The Royal College of Surgeons of 
England, who had appointed him as their Lecturer on 
Anatomy for 1875 and 1876, elected him an Honorary 
Fellow of the College in 1893. The Athenreum Club 
of London selected him for membership in recognition 
of his eminence as a man of science. 

Turner was an Honorary Member of the Royal Irish 
Academy ; a Foreign Member of the Anthropological 
Societies of Paris, Brussels, Rome, and Berlin ; a Cor- 
responding Member of the Royal Prussian Academy, 

^ I wish to acknowledge my indebtedness to Dr Cargill Knott for the 
informatiou bearing upon this, with which he kindly provided me. 


and of the Academy of Medicine of Petrograd. Many 
Universities both at home and abroad honoured him : 
he received the D.C.L. of Oxford, Durham, and 
Toronto ; the LL.D. of St Andrews, Glasgow, Aber- 
deen, Montreal, and the Western University of Penn- 
sylvania ; the D.Sc. of Dublin and Cambridge. 

The distinction of Knight of the Royal Prussian 
" Ordre pour le Merite " was conferred upon him by 
the German Emperor in 1912, in recognition of his 
scientific attainments, and was a source of great gra- 
tification to him. The same honour had previously 
been bestowed upon Lord Lister, and upon a few of 
Sir William's contemporaries in this country — Sir 
William Ramsay the chemist, his old friend Sir John 
Murray the oceanographer, on William Stokes the 
physician, and one or two others. The vacancy in the 
Order which had occurred through Lister's death 
earlier in the year was filled by Turner's appointment. 
The satisfaction which it had previously given him 
began to undergo a change during the first year of the 
War, and as successive months disclosed the hypocrisy 
of the Kaiser, and revealed the true character of the 
man, he no longer retained the same feeling of pride in 
its possession. In order to show his repugnance at the 
events which were taking place, he gave instructions 
to have the distinction deleted from the list of honours 
attached to his name in the various public records in 
which it appeared. Had it been possible for him 
during the War to have returned the insignia per- 
taining to it, he would not have hesitated to do so. 
The incident reminds us of Pasteur's feelings of bitter- 
ness in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71, and of 
the action which he took under somewhat similar cir- 
cumstances. The story is related in his Life by Rdne 
Vallery-Radot. In 1868, the University of Bonn had 
conferred upon Pasteur the Honorary Degree of Doctor 
of Medicine, and he had been much pleased with this 
acknowledgment of his scientific w^ork. With his 
mind embittered by the outrages and inexcusable 


violence of the Prussians, he wrote in January 1871 to 
the Head of the Faculty of Medicine in Bonn : " I am 
called upon by my conscience to ask you to efface my 
name from the Archives of your Faculty, and to take 
back the Diploma as a sign of the indignation inspired 
in a French scientist by the barbarity and hypocrisy of 
him who, in order to satisfy his criminal pride, persists 
in the massacre of two great nations." 

Should the University in which Turner worked for 
so many years, and whose interests he so loyally 
served, seek to bestow upon his memory a posthumous 
honour, surely no more fitting recognition could be 
made than by the foundation of a Memorial Chair of 
Physical Anthropology. His museum, with its rich 
store of material for illustration, could hardly be ex- 
celled, and there would thus be established a per- 
manent memorial of one who must always be regarded 
as the founder of the Scottish School of Anthropology. 




Members of the Senatus — Sir Eobert Christison — The Senatus and 
the University Court — "Women and the Study of Medicine. 

At the meeting of the Senatus Academicus held on 
April 24th, 1867, Turner was introduced and presented 
the Commission in his favour as Professor of Medicine 
and Anatomy. With his admission to the Senatus, he 
at once commenced to take the personal and active 
interest in University affairs which he retained until 
the end of his career. Nine years had elapsed since 
the Universities (Scotland) Act of 1858 had been 
placed upon the Statutes, an Act which left the con- 
trol of University administration in the hands of the 
Senatus, subject to the supervision of a new body, the 
University Court, and the preliminary difficulties 
associated with the radical changes in University 
government, which the Act had imposed, had been 
largely surmounted. Matters of educational import- 
ance, however, were constantly presented for consider- 
ation, and to these he turned his attention and added 
the weight of his opinion. 

Sir David Brewster, who had succeeded Lee as 
Principal in 1859, presided over the deliberations of 
the Senatus. At the time of Turner's appointment, 
Brewster's failing health made it increasingly difficult 
for him to discharge his University duties, and he 


appeared for the last time officially at the meeting of 
the Senate in October 18G7. After his death in 
February of the following year, his place as Principal 
was filled by the appointment of Sir Alexander Grant, 
Baronet. Amongst Turner's colleagues in the Faculty 
of Arts, we find the venerable figure of Campbell 
Fraser, the Dean, Professor of Logic and Metaphysics 
in succession to Sir William Hamilton. W. Y. Sellar, 
the scholar, who had followed Pillans, was Professor of 
Humanity ; John Stuart Blackie, always a picturesque 
figure in the streets of the city, was in the Chair of 
Greek ; David Masson, the friend of Thackeray and 
Douglas Jerrold, had brought back to Edinburgh 
something of her old membership in the universal 
republic of letters, and was inspiring his students from 
the Chair of Rhetoric and English Literature. Peter 
Guthrie Tait maintained the fame of the Chair of Play- 
fair and of D. J. Forbes, his old teacher, whose place 
he had been called to fill in 1860. Cosmo Innes was 
the occupant of the Chair of History and Constitu- 
tional Law, and Philip Kelland of Mathematics, while 
P. C. MacDougall taught Moral Philosophy in the 
Chair made famous by Dugald Stewart and " Christo- 
pher North." Herbert Oakley was Professor of Music, 
and John Wilson discharged his duties in the Chair of 
Agriculture along with those of Secretary of Senatus. 
Charles Piazzi-Smyth was Astronomer - Royal for 

In the Faculty of Law, James Muirhead was Dean 
and Professor of Civil Law, and James Lorimer, Nor- 
man Macpherson, and James Stuart Tytler were his 
colleagues. Theology was represented by liobert Lee, 
T. J. Crawford, David Liston, and William Stevenson. 

During the thirteen years of Turner's demonstrator- 
ship, several changes had taken place in the personnel 
of the Medical Faculty. Laycock had succeeded Alison 
in the Chair of Medicine in 1855, Lyon Playfiiir had 
been elected to the Professorship of Chemistry vacated 
by William Gregory in 1858, Douglas Maclagan had 



taken Traill's place as Regius Professor of Medical 
Jurisprudence in 1862, and James Spence had followed 
Miller in the Chair of Surgery. Christison, Syme, 
Simpson, Hughes Bennett, Allman, Henderson, and 
John Hutton Balfour, the Dean of the Faculty, still 
held office. Turner's association with some of his 
medical colleagues was destined, however, to be but a 
brief one. In the year following his appointment, 
Lyon Play fair resigned, and was elected first Parlia- 
mentary Representative of the Universities of Edin- 
burgh and St Andrews ; James Syme and William 
Henderson retired in 1869, on the ground of ill-health, 
the former being then in his seventieth year. In 1870, 
James Young Simpson died, and Allman resigned the 
Chair of Natural History. Alexander Crum Brown, 
Joseph Lister, William Rutherford Sanders, Alexander 
Russell Simpson, and Charles Wyville Thomson were 
elected to the respective vacancies. With the resigna- 
tion of Sir Douglas Maclagan in 1897, Turner remained, 
for nearly twenty years longer, the one active con- 
necting link between his famous colleagues of the ear- 
lier part of last century and the younger generations 
who knew them not, but who were taught to honour 
their memory and to value the importance of their scien- 
tific achievements, and what they had done to enhance 
the reputation of the Edinburgh Medical School. 

The outstanding personality amongst the group of 
medical men in the Senatus in 1867, was Sir Robert 
Christison. The active days of Syme and Simpson 
were at an end ; they had fought their battles, and 
the evening of life was closing in upon them. Hughes 
Bennett was still in fighting vein, but Christison, 
having entered the Senate in 1822 at the early age 
of twenty-five, was the veteran in University affairs 
after forty-five years of experience. He had taken 
part in many contests in the interests of his Alma 
Mater, struggling to maintain her rights and to 
increase her usefulness. He had been Dean of the 


Medical Faculty. Though seventy years of acre and 
approaching the termination of his professional life, 
he was Convener of the Finance Committee, the 
representative of the Senatns upon the University 
Court, and Crown Representative for Scotland upon 
the General Medical Council. Between Christison 
and Turner there were many points in common, and 
looking back now, when both men have laid down 
the burthen of life, it is interesting to observe how, 
not only in their careers, but also in their mental 
qualities, they resembled each other in several respects. 
Christison, in addition to the appointments just 
enumerated — all of which Turner subsequently held, 
though representing the Senatus and not the Crown 
upon the Medical Council — became President of the 
Royal Society of Edinburgh, and was offered the 
Presidency of the British Association, the state of 
his health alone preventing his acceptance of it ; 
while his nomination to the Principalship of the 
University was pressed upon him by many of his 
colleagues and friends. In the possession of a power- 
ful voice and a dignified manner, and with a clear 
liead for business and a most retentive memory for 
detail, he administered the finances of the Universitv 
with great care and good judgment. The University 
held the first place in his affections, and he devoted 
the greater part of his life to her interests. Christison 
died early in the year 1882, at the age of 85, his 
vigour but little impaired, until the closing months 
of his life. His love of mountain climbing and his 
power to satisfy the desire remained with him to 
the end, as in the autumn preceding his death he 
had been able to reach the summit of Aonach-More. 
During his first ten years in the Senatus, Turner 
had the advantage of working in association with 
Sir Robert, and when failing health forced the retire- 
ment of the latter in 1877, his mantle fell upon the 
shoulders of his younger colleague. 


Turner soon made his influence felt in University 
affairs. It was entirely contrary to his nature to 
remain a mere passive spectator when there was 
work to be done, and when matters of importance, 
which required careful consideration and prompt 
decision, came under discussion. He was put upon 
the Finance Committee of the Senate in 1870; he 
was elected as their representative on the Medical 
Council in 1873, and he became Dean of the Medical 
Faculty in 1877. He very early familiarised himself 
with the statutes which regulated the business of the 
Senatus and the Court, and the relations which the 
two bodies held to each other. He recognised, too, 
the value to be derived from a thorough knowledge 
of business procedure, a fact which serves to explain 
his later success as chairman of the various committees 
and councils over which he was called to preside. An 
illustration of his acquaintance with the regulations is 
furnished by the position which he took up at a meet- 
ing of the University Court, held in November 1869, 
which he, along with the Dean of the Medical Faculty, 
was asked to attend as representatives of the Senatus 

On the resignation of Professor Syme, an attempt 
was made on the part of certain members of the 
Faculty and of the College of Surgeons to suppress 
the Chair of Clinical Surgery. It was proposed that 
each surgeon and physician on the Infirmary staff 
should teach clinical surgery and clinical medicine, 
so that the certificates of all these men should qualify 
for graduation. The College of Surgeons had pre- 
sented a memorial to the Court relative to this 
subject, which was to come under consideration by 
that body at its meeting in November. As the 
Senatus had given their two delegates no instruc- 
tions as to the line which they were to take up in 
the discussion, they considered that they were free 
to exercise their own discretion. They came to the 


conclusion that for the Court to consider and adjudi- 
cate upon a subject which had not previously been 
before the Senate, was an irregular mode of procedure, 
and an infringement of the rights of that body. The 
following protest was signed by Turner and presented 
to the Court : — 

As the representatives of the Senatus Academicus appointed 
to be present at the meeting of the University Court called 
to take into consideration the memorial from the Royal 
College of Surgeons, we beg to take exception to the mode 
of procedure which has been adopted, and to protest against 
any action being taken by the Court with reference to the 
question of clinical teaching, until it has been considered by 
the Senatus, and a decision has been come to by that body. 
It is scarcely necessary that we should remind the Court that 
the power which it exercises under the 12tli Section, para- 
graph 1, of the Act of Parliament, "to review all decisions 
of the Senatus, and to be a Court of Appeal from the 
Senatus," has been a matter of dispute between the Senatus 
and the Court, and that the respective rights of the two 
bodies have not yet been absolutely defined. Our objection, 
however, to the mode of procedure, which it is proposed to 
adopt on this occasion, is not based upon any (juestion as 
to how this particular clause ought to be interpreted as 
regards the point in dispute between the Court and the 
Senatus. But it is based on the more general grounds that 
no decision has been come to by the Senate on this matter, 
that there is nothing therefore for the Court to review or to 
consider in the form of an Appeal, and that the whole 
proceedings are informal and incompetent. 

We can picture Turner convinced of the justice of 
his protest and determined to maintain his point, not- 
withstanding the more matured experience of the body 
before which he appeared. The Court, however, de- 
cided that under the second paragraph of the section 
of the Act ^ already referred to, it was competent for 
them to take up the question. 

1 Section 12, para. 2, reads: "To effect improvements in the internal 
arraugementa of the Universit}', after due communication with the 
Senatus," &c. 


I then stated that I was still of opinion that the protest 
was valid and proposed to leave the room. But I was 
requested to remain, as it was possible some questions might 
arise in the course of the discussion relative to the Com- 
missions of the Professors of Anatomy and Surgery, on which 
I might be able perhaps to give information to the Court. 
I remained therefore, but on the understanding that the 
Senatus was not to be regarded as committed in any way by 
my non- withdrawal from the meeting. 

Early in the year 1869, the University was called 
upon to consider the question of the admission of 
women students to the classes in the medical curri- 
culum. The lively discussions which the subject 
aroused, the public interest evinced in the move- 
ment, and the litigation which followed upon the 
refusal of the University authorities to open the door 
to the graduation of women in Medicine, have be- 
come matters of history, and have recently been 
dealt with in great detail in the biography of 
Dr Sophia Jex-Blake, the great protagonist of the 
movement.^ Public and academic opinion was divided 
upon a question which was taken seriously by some, 
but treated in a lighter vein by others. After striv- 
ing for nearly fifty years for complete recognition 
of their claims to equal consideration with the 
men, the women were finally admitted to the Uni- 
versity of Edinburgh for instruction in medicine, 
in the summer of 1916, a few months after Turner's 

To those who have witnessed the close of the 
struggle, it cannot be without interest to recall 
some of the earliest events of the movement. Miss 
Sophia Jex-Blake applied for leave to attend some 
of the classes in medicine. At a meeting of the 
Medical Faculty held on March 23, 1869— from 
which Turner was absent — it was resolved to recom- 

1 'The liife of Sophia Jex-Blake,' by Margaret Todd, M.D., 1918. 


mend the Senatus to allow Miss Jex-Blake to attend 
the classes of Botany and Natural History as an 
experiment during the ensuing summer session. The 
resolution of the Faculty was not carried unanimously, 
as we iind that Professor Laycock dissented. The 
Senatus approved of the recommendation, but Turner 
and Laycock, along with Professor James Muirhead, 
appealed to the University Court against the decision 
of the Senate. Turner based his protest against the 
introduction of mixed classes in the medical curri- 
culum upon the following grounds: (l) That class 
discipline would be impaired ; (2) that some restraint 
would be put upon the teacher in connection with 
certain aspects of his subject ; (3) that it would be 
repulsive to male students ; and (4) that it would 
become impossible to carry on efficient practical in- 
struction in anatomy. The Court, influenced possibly 
by a protest from the male students, sustained the 
appeal and recalled the resolution of the Senate, 
stating that there were difficulties at present stand- 
ing in the way of carrying out the wishes of the 
Senatus as a temporary arrangement in the interests 
of one lady, but they were not prepared to adjudicate 
finally on the question whether women should be 
admitted to the medical classes of the University. 

In view of the decision of the Court, the outlook 
was far from favourable. Miss Jex-Blake, however, 
was no longer the only applicant for medical in- 
struction, four other ladies having signified their 
desire to study medicine. She proceeded, therefore, 
to make a further ap])eal, but altered the terms of 
her request. She now asked that women should be 
matriculated and examined, and that they should 
receive their instruction in separate classes, taught 
either by the Professor or by recognised extra-mural 
lecturers. Both the Medical Faculty and the Senatus 
expressed approval, Hughes Bennett, Douglas Mac- 
lagan, Spence, and Balfour voting in the Faculty in 
their favour. The Court also took a favourable atti- 


tude, and remitted the question to the consideration 
of a Committee for the purpose of formulating a 
working scheme. The final arrangements were laid 
before the General Council of the University, and 
were agreed to by a large majority. The regula- 
tions admitting women to the study of medicine 
within the University, and giving permission to the 
Professors to teach them in separate classes, received 
the assent of the Chancellor on November 12, 1869. 

This was the end of the first phase of the move- 
ment, outwardly satisfactory enough ; but as the 
majority of the Professors refused to have anything 
to do with the instruction of women, an impasse was 
speedily reached. The recalcitrant Professors became 
the target of various forms of abuse. -^ Their attitude 
was attributed by some to jealousy, and to the fear of 
rivalry from feminine competition, and they were 
branded by others as trades unionists. A more 
charitable explanation was probably to be found in 
the fact that the labour involved in teaching twice 
daily did not appeal to busy men. Amongst the 
minority supporting the cause, Crum Brown and 
Hughes Bennett taught the women separately in 
their respective subjects ; while outside the Univer- 
sity, AUeyne Nicholson held a mixed class in Natural 
History, and Handyside opened his dissecting-rooms 
to them along with the men. After receiving in- 
struction in some of the extra-mural classes, which 
the statutes of the Act of 1858 permitted, the women 
found that they could not proceed further. 

They were not, however, to be denied. The women 
had their supporters both within and outside the Uni- 
versity. Masson and Calderwood gave them their 
assistance, and the "Association for the Higher 
Education of Women," which had recently been 
inaugurated in Edinburgh, gave them its support. 
Miss Louisa Stevenson, who worked indefatigably in 
the interests of her sex, sent a letter to the Univer- 

1 Sir Alexander Grant's Story of the University. 


sity Court in November 1871, detailing alternative 
methods of supplying medical instruction. The Court 
reiterated its desire to give the women full instruction 
in separate classes, but pointed out that it could not 
compel the Professors to conduct them, and that they 
were not prepared to appoint lecturers to give the 
required courses. They urged the women to forgo 
the demand for graduation, as the conferring of 
degrees upon them was of very doubtful legality. 
To this communication Miss Jex-Blake retorted that 
she intended to claim attendance on classes qualifying 
for graduation, if graduation should be declared to be 
legal. The Court replied that, as no complete course 
was available, graduation was impossible, even if it 
should be declared legal. If the applicants would be 
content to seek the examination of women by the Uni- 
versity for certificates of proficiency in medicine, instead 
of University degrees, the Court believed that arrange- 
ments for accomplishing this object would fall within 
the scope of the powers given to them by the Universi- 
ties Act of 1858, and they would be willing to consider 
any such arrangements which might be submitted to 
them. The Senatus took counsel's opinion, and hav- 
ing found that they had no power to confer degrees 
upon women, they declined to make any arrange- 
ments for tuition. 

The last phase was conducted in the Courts of Law. 
The women, naturally aggrieved, raised an action to 
compel the University to complete their education 
and to confer graduation upon them, and judgment 
in the case of Jex-Blake v. the Chancellor and the 
Senatus Academicus of the University of Edinburgh 
was given by Lord Giiford, tiie Lord Ordinary, in 
their favour. He affirmed that there was no foun- 
dation for the proposition that the University was 
founded for and existed for men only, and tliat the 
regulations already enacted byHhe University Court, 
and approved by the Chancellor in 1869, were valid 
and binding in every respect. On appeal, the judg. 


ment was reversed, on the ground that the Univer- 
sity Court had acted illegally in adnnitting women in 
1869, and consequently the authorities were excused 
from all responsibility towards them. 

Thus terminated the early history of the women's 
movement in Edinburgh. Had the Senatus, at the 
outset, ascertained the legal position of the Univer- 
sity in regard to the conferring of degrees upon 
women, the latter would have had no cause of com- 
plaint. They might have accepted, as they liked, the 
teaching of those Professors who were willing to in- 
struct them, on the distinct understanding that they 
could not proceed to graduation. 

Turner's attitude towards the question of instruct- 
ing women in medicine remained the same throughout 
his life, and as a teacher of anatomy he would have 
nothing to do with mixed classes. His views are best 
expressed in his own words, when giving evidence be- 
fore Lord Elgin's Committee in 1909. 

The attitude which I have held with reference to this 
question is a consistent attitude, and it is one which I have 
held ever since the matter was mooted, and that is a good 
many years ago. I am opposed to the teaching of medicine 
to women in mixed classes, and I have always consistently 
opposed it. I am not opposed to the teaching of medicine to 
women, provided that suitable accommodation can be given 
to them, and that proper teaching is available. I consider 
that women have as good a claim as men to be taught 
medicine, but I object entirely to their being taught along 
with men. This is not an objection merely on my part, but 
I would point out that the male students object to it. The 
University Court received two memorials last year (1908) 
upon the subject : a memorial which had to be prepared in a 
great hurry, signed by 450 male students, and a memorial 
from the Students' Representative Council, both objecting 
to the admission of women students to the ordinary classes, 
and stating that the interests of all parties would be best 
preserved by women receiving their training in a separate 
College. I entirely agree. I give you my individual opinion 
that if this Committee can persuade the Treasury to allot a 
sum of money — I cannot give the figure — for the teaching of 


women, then I, as Principal of the University, am quite pre- 
pared to see that the money is properly applied for that 

Future legislative enactments enabled the Univer- 
sities to confer medical degrees upon women, and in 
Scotland this power was granted by the Universities 
Act of 1889. But for many years Edinburgh was 
unable to open her doors to them for purposes of 
instruction. Financial disability, the large number 
of male students of medicine, and the difficulties in 
the way of accommodating both sexes, were import- 
ant reasons which militated against a suitable work- 
ing arrangement. The changed conditions brought 
about by the influence of the Great War materially 
altered the situation. The young manhood of the 
nation had responded to the call of militar}'' service. 
The women too, actuated by patriotic motives, had 
in their turn " made good," and in large numbers 
responded to their country's needs for national 
service. They came forward to meet the claims 
demanded by the ever- diminishing number of male 
practitioners in medicine. In the session of 1916-17, 
no fewer than 230 women matriculated in the Faculty 
of Medicine in Edinburgh, and in the following year, 
the total enrolment was 285. Mixed classes, with 
certain reservations and restrictions, came almost 
automatically into being. The whole aspect of the 
(|uestion had altered in fifty years. In 1869, the 
University had been asked to materially change her 
teaching arrangements for the benefit of one pro- 
spective woman student. Tn 1916, at least one- 
fourth of the students studying medicine in Edin- 
burgh were women. The long antagonism and the 
bitter feelings that the early controversy had aroused 
may well be allowed to remain at rest under the 
shadow of the world's crisis. 



the medical acts of 1858 and 1886 — 
*'a thirty years' war." 

Medical Act of 1858 — Position of the Scottish and English 
Licensing Boards — Mr Robert Lowe and the Scottish Uni- 
versities — The General Medical Council and a Conjoint Board 
— Legislation and the One-portal System — Mr W. E. Forster's 
Committee — The Medical Acts Commission, 1881 — Medical 
Bills of 1883 and 1884— The Medical Act of 1886. 

When Parliament gave its sanction to the Medical 
Act of 1858, whereby the Medical Register and the 
General Council of Medical Education and Registra- 
tion were established, it undoubtedly improved the 
conditions under which qualifications to practise were 
granted. The Act was the outcome of a general 
desire to form a central authority in the medical 
profession. Previous to that date, the various licens- 
ing bodies had been wholly without control or super- 
vision. The titles and certificates which were granted 
by some of the bodies were insufficient evidence of 
qualification, and so slight was the legal restraint 
upon imposture, that it was sometimes difficult to be 
certain that those who used the licences had really 
been granted them. For the most part, too, the 
licensing qualifications were recognised only within 
certain localities. The Act did away with these 
territorial restrictions, and licentiates of the Scottish 

THE MEDICAL ACTS OF 1858 AND 1886 269 

Corporations became qualified to practise in any part 
of the United Kingdom. By means of the Register, 
duly qualified practitioners could be distinguished from 
those who had no legal qualification to practise.^ To 
the General Medical Council was given the power of 
inquiry into the several courses of study, the examina- 
tions, and the character of the qualifications of the 
different licensing bodies, and if dissatisfied with 
the same, it could report to the Privy Council. It 
was lawful for the latter body, upon representation 
being made, to remove, if it saw fit, the right of any 
licensing body to qualify persons for registration. Up 
to a certain point, therefore, both the public and the 
different bodies granting the qualifications were safe- 

There remained, however, something of an unsatis- 
factory nature in the framing of the Act, which was 
a danger to the public, and which affected unfairly 
those teaching institutions which already gave both 
a complete medical education and a thorough examina- 
tion test to their students. Medicine and surgery had 
grown up separately, and, in a sense, they had been 
cultivated and practised by two groups of persons, 
each becoming incorporated under separate Royal 
Charters and founding institutions for their own 
specific purpose. Colleges of Physicians and Surgeons 
qualified their licentiates to practise in their respec- 
tive departments, medicine not including surgery, or 
surgery, medicine. But, in course of time, each of 
these branches of medical study came to be practised, 
in the great majority of cases, by the same persons, 
but many of them did so only upon one qualification, 
and often with the knowledge of all the professional 
subjects untested by examination. Hence it had 
become a question whether the mode of licensing 
should not undergo a corresponding change. 

The Act of 1858, unfortunately, did not abolish 

' The Medical Act of 1858, however, did not compel duly qualified 
practitiouera to register, but it was to their disadvantage not to do so. 


the legal distinction between medical and surgical 
di})l()nias ; it left the question of the complete or 
double qualification unsettled. The 31st section of 
the Act declared that every registered person " shall 
be entitled according to his qualification or qualifica- 
tions to practise medicine or surgery, or medicine and 
surgery as the case may be." In other words, the 
clause implied that a registered person could in the 
eyes of the law still practise upon a single qualifica- 
tion, although his examination in some cases had failed 
to test his ability to do so. For instance, if he were 
a Licentiate of the Society of Apothecaries of London, 
he was not legally entitled to practise Surgery, nor 
had he been examined in the subject, but being regis- 
tered upon that qualification, he could pose before 
the public as a fully qualified man. Similarly, if a 
man held the diploma of membership of the Koyal 
College of Surgeons of England, he had not the legal 
right to practise Medicine, in which his knowledge had 
not been thoroughly tested, but being registered, the 
public accepted his services as a fully qualified practi- 
tioner. Further, it must be borne in mind, that even 
if equipped with both of these qualifications, the prac- 
titioner's knowledge of Midwifery had not been tested 
by examination, though obstetrics formed a large part 
of his professional work. In order to overcome this 
difficulty, the College of Surgeons of England insti- 
tuted later an examination in medicine and midwifery 
so as to make its diploma qualify in the three recog- 
nised branches of practice. Nevertheless, the Act had 
failed to secure that even the minimum standard of 
the qualifying examination was suflScient for the proper 
conduct of practice, and it left it optional to the 
Colleges to form a Conjoint Board for conferring the 
double qualification. 

In Scotland, the Universities and the Medical Cor- 
porations, though hitherto conferring a single qualifica- 
tion, had given both a complete medical education and 
a thorough examination test to their candidates in all 

THE MEDICAL ACTS OF 1858 AND 1886 271 

the professional subjects. In order to overcome the 
difficulty of the single qualification, the Commissioners 
appointed under the Universities (Scotland) Act of 
1858, substituted the double degree of Bachelor in 
Medicine and Master of Surgery, in place of the 
Doctorate in Medicine previously conferred. Their 
power to take such a step was challenged by the 
Corporations and litigation followed, but the Law 
Courts decided in favour of the Universities. The 
Colleges of Surgeons and Physicians in Edinburgh 
then conjoined voluntarily in 1859, and granted the 
double Licence in Medicine and Surgery, mainly as 
the result of the efforts of Dr Andrew Wood and Dr 
John Struthers, and the College of Physicians of Edin- 
burgh co-operated with the Faculty of Physicians and 
Surgeons of Glasgow, a body which had previously 
granted a surgical licence only, for the purposes of 
a double qualification. These licensing authorities 
were perfectly entitled to carry out this procedure 
under section 19 of the Medical Act. 

Notwithstanding that the Act sanctioned the volun- 
tary union and co - operation of any two or more 
colleges or bodies for the purpose of conducting 
examinations necessary for qualification and registra- 
tion, the medical authorities in England took no 
efficient steps to deal with the situation which had 
arisen. It was unfortunate that the clause in the 
Act which dealt with collaboration of examining 
bodies had not been made compulsory. The Cor- 
porations in England continued to act as separate 
licensing authorities, giving their "half" dij)l()mas 
and licences, which entitled the holders to admission 
upon the medical register, while the measures taken 
to improve their imperfect examinations were not 
always satisfactory. Their inaction lay at the root 
of a prolonged and wearying period of contention, 
extending over nearly thirty years. It led to 
numerous and futile attempts at legislation for the 
solution of the problem, and it aroused hostile feel- 


ing between men who were on all other points 
most friendly disposed to each other. Scotland, con- 
fident in the value both of her teaching and exam- 
ination system, naturally resented interference, and 
throughout the whole period of uncertainty as to 
what would be the eventual outcome of legislation, 
she was constantly exposed to the risk of suffering 
from the shortcomings of the English medical bodies. 
The final solution of the controversy was only adjusted 
and settled by the Medical Act of 1886, which was 
based mainly upon the suggestions put forward by 
Turner in his Memorandum upon the Report of the 
Royal Commission of 1881, of which he was a member. 
He took an active part in the struggle to maintain 
the position of the Scottish medical licensing bodies, 
especially the Universities, and the history of the 
events of that period forms part of the story of 
his life. 

After various endeavours to arrive at a solution of 
the matter, the Education Committee of the General 
Medical Council took up the question in 1868, and 
urged the principle of a Conjoint Examination Board 
as a means of obtaining efficiency through the union 
of the licensing bodies, and in this way establish- 
ing complete or double qualifications. The Conjoint 
Scheme was not a new idea ; while the prospective 
legislation which terminated in the Act of 1858 was 
before a Select Committee of the House of Commons 
in 1856, a report was made in favour of the granting 
of a " Licentiateship in Medicine and Surgery " which 
should be all - sufficient to enable its possessor to 
practise his profession, but the Medical Corporations 
were sufficiently strong to defeat the recommendation. 
In 1868, the Medical Council, on the advice of its 
Education Committee, voted almost unanimously in 
favour of a Conjoint Examining Board, and the 
majority included its English, Scotch, and Irish mem- 
bers. They presented their resolution to the Privy 

THE MEDICAL ACTS OF 1858 AND 1886 273 

Council, and, in this way, they probably influenced the 
Government to bring in the bill of 1870. 

Of the various bills which were from time to time 
introduced into Parliament with the object of achiev- 
ing some modus operandi, by which a uniform method 
of examination and qualification might be obtained, 
perhaps the most notable of the earlier ones w^as Lord 
Kipon's Bill of 1870. Its main purport was to set up 
a Medical Examining Board in each of the three 
divisions of the United Kingdom. Through this 
Board alone was the licence to register and to practise 
to be conferred. It was in effect a "one-portal" sys- 
tem of entry into the profession, and it became indeed 
the Leitmotiv of all the legislative measures which 
were undertaken for the projected settlement of the 
difficulty. The final examinations of Universities and 
Medical Corporations were to be superseded by the 
establishment of Divisional Examination Boards, 
success in which would alone qualify for registra- 
tion. Universities and Medical Corporations were to 
have full liberty to do as they pleased with honorary 
degrees and distinctions. 

The supporters of the one-portal system saw in a 
Conjoint Examining Board a method of obtaining the 
highest guarantee that the best possible staff of ex- 
aminers would be secured. They felt that a combina- 
tion of all the medical authorities would give a better 
selection than any individual body, and that, along 
with a uniform standard, a suflicient minimum exam- 
ination would be obtained for the purposes of general 
practice. Tlie bill was opposed by a section of tlie 
medical profession, because the Government did not 
reconstruct the Executive, whose duty it would be to 
carry out the working of the Act. It refused to give 
the general body of the profession representation upon 
the Medical Council, and for that reason strong oppo- 
sition was raised against the l)ill as a whole. 

Although the bill of 1870 failed to l^ecome law, it 
was evident that the State premeditated some such 



scheme as the above, and a champion had been found 
in the person of the Right Honourable Robert Lowe, 
ParHamentary Representative of London University, 
and Chancellor of the Exchequer in Mr Gladstone's 
Government of 1871. Captivated by the spirit of the 
University which he represented, which was essentially 
an Examining Board and not a teaching institution, he 
advocated that the function of a University was to 
examine, and not to teach ; indeed, he went so far as 
to say, that teachers should not be examiners ; and he 
maintained that it was the duty of the State to decide 
upon the list of subjects on which the examination 
was to be held. He aimed at converting the teaching 
Universities of Scotland and Ireland into Exam- 
ining Boards after the manner of the University of 

In his speech at Halifax on December 5, 1871, Lowe 
foreshadowed future legislation along these lines, and 
in the course of his address he stated that large num- 
bers of young men entered regularly for the examina- 
tion for the medical degree at the London University, 
and that many of them were rejected. They accepted 
their rejection, however, conscious of the fact that if 
they had been successful, they would have obtained a 
certificate which would be of immense value to them 
in after life. " Many young men," he continued, " go 
up to Edinburgh to be admitted to the medical pro- 
fession. The examination in the Edinburgh College 
may be easily passed, but I am glad to testify that 
numbers of these men prefer to come to pass the more 
severe examination imposed upon them by the London 
University. This I wish to make clear, because there 
is a wrong impression on the matter prevailing with 
reofard to these examinations." 

It was hardly to be expected that a statement of 
this kind would be allowed to go unchallenged on the 
part of the University of Edinburgh. Turner, in a 
letter to ' The Scotsman,' at once dealt with the matter 
and exposed its injustice : — 

THE MEDICAL ACTS OF 1858 AND 1886 275 

In the passage quoted above, Mr Lowe, in the first place, 
insinuates that the examination for medical degrees in the 
University of Edinburgh " may be easily passed," and then 
boldly asserts that " numbers " of our students prefer to submit 
themselves to the more severe examinations imposed by the 
London University. I have tested the accuracy of the state- 
ments made by the right honourable gentleman, and as I find 
them altogether opposed to the facts, I wish with your per- 
mission, sir, to make these facts known. 

Whether the examinations of Edinburgh University may 
be easily passed or not can be gathered from the following 
return, which shows — first, the number of candidates who have 
presented themselves during the past three years at the 
different examinations for the medical degree ; secondly, the 
number rejected at each examination ; thirdly, the percentage 
of rejected candidates : — 

Percentage of 




let Profes-ional 

. 395 



2nd Professional 

. 3-20 



Final Examination . 

. 201 



From the above it will be seen that, in the first and second 
examinations, nearly one-third of the candidates are rejected, 
and though the ill-prepared and less industrious students are 
thus eliminated, yet even at the final examination as many as 
8 per cent are remitted. The many young men who have 
been rejected will scarcely, I think, echo the sentiment of Mr 
Lowe, that the examinations in the Edinburgh College are 
easily passed ; and the facts which I have adduced prove that 
examiners, though they may at the same time be teachers, 
are prepared to do their duty, notwithstanding the sneer in 
which Mr Lowe indulges in an earlier part of his speech, that 
for teachers to be examiners seems to him like a man auditing 
his own accounts. 

As to whether numbers of Edinburgh medical students go 
to pass the London University examinations may readily be 
ascertained from the Calendar of that University, in which are 
printed not only the names of its medical graduates and 
undergraduates, but the medical schools at which they were 
educated. An analy.sis of this list shows that of 589 gradu- 
ates in medicine of that University, only eight received their 
education in the Edinburgh Medical School. To these facts 
drawn from the official calendar I may add another, based on 
the personal knowledge I acquired during the five years in 
which I acted as examiner in Anatomy in the University of 


London, during which period only two Edinburgh candidates 
appeared before the Board of which I was a member. It 
appears that since 1839, when the degree of Doctor of Medi- 
cine was first conferred by the University of London, the 
names of only fourteen Edinburgh medical students have been 
enrolled on its calendar, though thousands of young men, 
durino- that period, received their medical education in this 

It was clearly evident from the nature of Mr Lowe's 
speech that the future of the Scottish Universities as 
teaching institutions was threatened. Lyon Playfair, 
the member for the Universities of Edinburgh and St 
Andrews, was alive to this fact, and wrote to Turner 
as follows : — 


December 1871. 

I was much pleased to see your letter in ' The Scotsman ' 
yesterday. I also had examined the Calendar, but I did not 
get so many Edinburgh candidates as you. 

I attach the utmost importance to Lowe's speech, as he was 
clearly sent by the Cabinet to prepare the public mind for 
changes in the University system, first in Ireland and secondly 
in Scotland. The gauntlet thus thrown down must be taken 
up, and for want of a better champion, I propose to answer 
his speech in Edinburgh in January. 

I have written to the Principal to get some educational 
body to ask me to address them on " Examining and Teaching 
Universities," as I do not like to address my constituents 
against the usual University rule. The occasion is important, 
and I would gladly receive any hints from you and others. 

Lyon Playfair. 

The opportunity was given to Playfair to address 
the Philosophical Institution of Edinburgh on Jan- 
uary 31, 1872. The main theme developed in his 
speech showed that, when examining and teaching 
were divorced from each other, the Universities had 
undergone an intellectual impoverishment. In France, 
prior to the Revolution, the provinces, imitating the 
example of Paris, possessed twenty-three Universities, 
each with a separate autonomy and adding largel}^ to 
the intellectual development of the nation. When 

THE MEDICAL ACTS OF 1858 A:ND 1886 277 

Napoleon I. reconstituted the University of Paris, it 
became the sinn^le University of France and the great 
department of State instruction. Even the dictation 
of the curriculum and the examination of the scholars 
became the business of the State, and in the opinion 
of many leading Frenchmen — De Tocqueville, Pasteur, 
and Renan — this had led to increasing poverty in the 
number of her eminent men. The old Universities of 
Italy, so long as thev were the objects of interest and 
pride to municipalities, and while their examinations 
were independent of Church and State, were famous 
and productive, but when attempts were made to 
reconcile them to a standard, they fell into compara- 
tive decrepitude. 

Germany, on the other hand, was multiplying her 
Universities and establishing amongst them a salu- 
tary emulation. Though supported by the State, 
they were invariably left with freedom as regards 
their instruction and methods of examination. 

The fundamental constitution of the Scottish Uni- 
versities had done much to stamp the national char- 
acter of Scotland, and had added largely to the 
material prosperity of the whole kingdom. The main 
function of a University was to promote the higher 
education, and to produce the educated man. An 
Examining Board, on the other hand, looked only to 
knowledge, however acquired, and that knowledge 
may have been obtained by a system of cramming. 
It is true that absence of unity in degree may in- 
dicate different levels of qualification, but public 
opinion would soon correct this, if they fell too low ; 
but the same diversity produces a variety in intel- 
lectual attainments and modes of thought, which are 
infinitely preferable to a stereotyped system of exam- 
ination, such as would inevitably result from the 
establishment of a common Board, set up for the sole 
purpose of conferring registrable qualifications. 

For a brief period, the attempt to settle the vexed 


question of the qualifying examination passed into 
the hands of the Medical Council. The great pro- 
tagonist of the Conjoint Board in England was Sir 
John Simon, K.C.B., formerly Medical Officer of the 
Privy Council, and as a member of the Medical 
Council he urged the adoption of such an arrange- 
ment. In the summer of 1871, the Council addressed 
a letter to each of the Licensing Bodies in the country, 
pressing upon them the consideration of a scheme for 
the constitution and regulation of a conjoint examin- 
ing board in each division of the Kingdom, and re- 
questing the various bodies to transmit the same to 
the Medical Council. Schemes were submitted in 
1872, and the Conjoint Board, as finally amended in 
1877, by the Conference of the Representatives of all 
the medical authorities in England, contained the 
following important recommendations. Each Licens- 
ing Body agreed to abstain from exercising the in- 
dependent privilege, which it had previously held, of 
admitting its students to the Medical Register, it 
being understood, however, that each might confer, 
as thought proper, their honorary distinctions and 
degrees. A Conjoint Board of Examiners was to be 
nominated by a Committee of Reference, consisting 
of two representatives from each of the Universities 
and Medical Corporations in England, but the exam- 
iners appointed by the Board were to be selected from 
the Colleges of Physicians and Surgeons, and from 
the Society of Apothecaries of London. Candidates 
who were not University students were to be exam- 
ined in all the professional subjects before receiving 
their licence to practise, and their examination fees 
were not to be less than thirty guineas. Matriculated 
students of an English University, however, who had 
completed not less than four years of medical study, 
and had passed the subjects of the earlier examin- 
ations, were then eligible for the final examination 
of the Conjoint Board, on pa^^ment of a fee of five 
guineas. If successful in this, they were also entitled, 

THE MEDICAL ACTS OF 1858 AND 1886 279 

upon the further payment of twenty-five guineas, to 
receive the Licence of the Royal College of Physicians 
of London, along with the Diploma of membership of 
the Royal College of Surgeons of England, and the 
Licence of the Society of Apothecaries of London, 
and their names were to be placed upon the Medical 
Register. The University degrees could then be 
sought as degrees with honours, by such students 
as were desirous of obtaining a higher qualification 
after registration. 

It is difiicult to understand how the Universities 
of London, Oxford, Cambridge, and Durham could 
thus part with the birthright of their students, and 
were prepared to accept not only no share in their 
final examination for qualification, but to deprive 
many of them of the opportunity of obtaining their 
degree. But the attitude of the Universities in Eng- 
land towards medical education difl^ered considerably 
from that which existed in Scotland. While a great 
development in the Medical Faculties, as parts of the 
educational machinery of the Universities in Edin- 
burgh and Glasgow, and in Dublin also, had taken 
place during the eighteenth century, no corresponding 
advance was made in Oxford and Cambridge until the 
middle of last century. Their proximity to London, 
with its abundant opportunities for study, attracted 
the practitioners, teachers, and students of medicine, 
and the influence exercised by the Corporations of 
Physicians and Surgeons in the Metropolis, with their 
power to grant licences to practise, was antagonistic 
to the development of medical education at the Eng- 
lish Universities. England, undoubtedly, suffered also 
from not having a metropolitan University at that 
period of her history, and when the University of 
London came to be established in the nineteenth cen- 
tury, it was a mere examining board, and provided 
no educational training. ** Hence there arose in the 
minds of many Englishmen a conception of the rela- 
tions of the Universities to medical education and to 


the medical practitioner, which to us in Scotland 
seems quite erroneous. They looked upon a Univer- 
sity training as not intended for the profession gen- 
erally, but as an especial privilege of the select few. 
We, on the other hand, hold that the more that the 
great body of the profession is brought into relation 
with the thought and culture and scientific methods 
of our Universities, the wider and more precise will 
be the basis on which to found rational methods of 
practice, and the more will the profession advance in 
the estimation of the public." ^ 

That there was a lack of enthusiasm for the scheme 
in Ensfland, even amono^st some of those who were 
engaged in drawing up its details, is evident from 
letters ^ which were written by Sir James Paget, the 
Chairman of the Conference of the English Delegates. 
"I see a constantly increasing dislike of the scheme 
in the Council of the College of Surgeons," he wrote 
to his brother in 1875, "some being averse to all 
change, some hating the association with the Apothe- 
caries." And again — " I wish the affair were well at 
an end ; I believe on the whole that a Conjoint Board 
would be right, but the balance of my mind in favour 
of it is very small ; I cannot be enthusiastic for it." 

In Ireland, there was at first a general consensus 
of opinion that it would be expedient to form a Board 
before which all students should appear for their final 
examination. The Queen's University pointed out 
that such a Board could only be effectively established 
and maintained by legislation, and in the event of 
this being introduced, they would give their co-opera- 
tion to promoting the attainment of a satisfactory 

That a scheme, similar to that formulated in Eng- 
land, would be accepted as a model upon which to 
base the future of the Scottish Universities and the 
Medical Corporations in Scotland, was most impro- 

' Address by Sir William Turner. 

2 ' Memoirs and Letters of Sir James Pa^et.' 1901. 

THE MEDICAL ACTS OF 1858 AND 1886 281 

bable. Their traditions, the excellence and complete- 
ness of their teaching and examination systems, and 
the fact that they had already put their house in 
order, and were able to grant the double qualification 
in medicine and surgery, seemed to them to meet 
sufiiciently all the demands that were being made 
upon them. When Lord Hipon's Bill was introduced, 
opinion in Scotland regarding a Conjoint Board was 
divided, many persons, though undoubtedl}- in a 
minority, being in favour of it. The Universities 
never looked favourably upon the scheme. They felt 
that if such a system were introduced, the majority 
of their students would not proceed to the higher 
degree examination. To many of them, drawn from 
a class who were obliged carefully to consider ways 
and means, the disbursement of additional fees would 
be a matter of serious consideration. The degree in 
medicine in Edinburgh was highly valued both by the 
profession and by the public, and, before the L'niver- 
sities in the Overseas Dominions were founded and 
developed, it attracted men from all parts of the 
Empire. Moreover, the association with a particular 
University, and with the degree which it has con- 
ferred, engenders in the mind a natural feeling of 
pride, and a continued interest in the old School. 
The greater the success of the School, and the higher 
the position to which it attains, the more powerful 
is the influence which it disseminates — an influence 
which becomes reflected in the eyes of the public. 
The continued welfare of the University is ever a 
matter of interest to the many thousands of her 
graduates who have passed beyond her walls, and 
her progi-ess is watched and her reputation jealously 
guarded, just as much by those who have settled in 
distant lands, as by the men who remain at home 
and are more immediately enijaged in carrying on 
her work. It is diflicult to imagine that the interest 
aroused in the Scottish student for his Alma Mater 
could be developed or maintained for his Divisional 


Board. It was further held that the establishment 
ol' such a scheme would have a detrimental effect 
upon the education of the student. Teachers and 
schools would arise and become recognised as giving 
special preparation for the examination, and a system 
of cramming or coaching would thus be set up, in- 
imical to the best interests of medical education. 

Nevertheless, the medical authorities in Scotland 
willingly made an attempt to meet the request of the 
Medical Council, and they proceeded to hold a number 
of Conferences for the purpose of discussing some 
common line of action. Finally, an amended scheme 
was drawn up and submitted to the Medical Council 
for their consideration. It differed in one or two 
important particulars from that which had been pro- 
posed by the delegates from the English bodies. 
Scotland claimed the right of continuing to give her 
degrees and diplomas to those who had satisfied the 
Conjoint Board, conditionally however, upon the re- 
quisite legal sanction being obtained. They limited 
the conjoint examination to the clinical subjects of 
the final professional. The Examiners of the Con- 
joint Board were to be chosen in equal numbers by 
each of the Co-operating Medical Authorities, the 
regulations for the examinations being placed under 
an Honorary Committee of the Scottish Branch of the 
Medical Council. 

The mere submission of this scheme did not imply, 
however, that all the licensing bodies in Scotland were 
willing to adopt the principle. While the two Medi- 
cal Corporations in Edinburgh and the Faculty of 
Physicians and Surgeons in Glasgow gave their assent 
to it, the Universities were unable to agree to the 
proposal. In Edinburgh, the Medical Faculty reported 
at some length, and expressed the opinion that the 
object aimed at by the Medical Council, namely, to 
ensure that all the examinations for a licence to prac- 
tise should be kept at a proper standard of efficiency, 
might be attained without any disturbance of the 

THE MEDICAL ACTS OF 1858 AND 1886 283 

existing institutions, provided that the system of 
inspection by visitors appointed by the Medical 
Council was more fully carried out. They regarded 
the existence of a number of independent examining 
bodies as an advantage, in that they promoted an 
honourable rivalry, while a common portal of entry 
would of necessity imply a minimum in the examina- 
tion and in the degree of attainment demanded. They 
could not agree with the opinion frequently expressed 
by those who had no experience of the Scottish system, 
that the examination of students by their own teachers 
was wrong in principle, and they regarded the presence 
of their non - professorial examiners, who had been 
appointed under the Universities (Scotland) Act of 
1858, as a safeguard against any possible partiality 
or prejudice on the part of the teachers. 

Very little progress was made towards a final solu- 
tion of the difficulty. Although the Conjoint Scheme 
proposed by the English medical authorities had re- 
ceived the approval of the Medical Council, it had 
not been put into operation by the spring of 1878. 
No attempt was made to bring it voluntarily into 
force, as it M^as felt by some that it would be incom- 
plete if confined to England alone. Indeed, it seemed 
doubtful whether any working arrangement could be 
effected, unless it was made compulsory by legislation 
for the three divisions of the Kingdom, and opinion 
in the profession, even in England, was beginning to 
undergo some modification with regard to the value 
of the scheme. Some criticism was levelled against 
the Medical Council on account of its apparent inac- 
tion, but it must be clearly understood that the powers 
of that body under the Medical Act of 1858 were very 
limited. They could ask for information, and to a 
certain extent pass judgment, but they had no legal 
powers to enforce any of their proposals upon the 
licensing bodies. Had it been possible for the Council 
to do more than issue recommendations and sanction 


the approval of such, when accepted by the medical 
authorities, doubtless many years of controversy would 
have been avoided. Hundreds of men holding a single 
qualification were being placed annually upon the 
Medical Register after only a partial examination. 
The Council might have sought the remedy which 
lay to its hand, by reporting to the Privy Council 
the inadequacy of certain diplomas and qualifications, 
but under the terms of the Act, the offending licens- 
ing bodies might have justly argued that the complaint 
lodged against them was ultra vires. Those who 
criticised the inaction of the Medical Council, alleged 
that the licensing bodies were too strongly represented 
upon it to permit of that body proceeding to any 
measure which would militate against themselves. 

In 1878, a Medical Act Amendment Bill was intro- 
duced into the House of Lords by the Duke of 
Richmond, the Lord President of the Privy Council. 
In its general lines it closely followed Lord Ripon's 
Bill of 1870, but no result was attained. In the 
following year, the Lord President again attempted 
legislation, being pressed by the Medical Council to 
arrive at some conclusion in the best interests of 
medical education. Sir Lyon Playfair, who figured 
prominently in all the debates in the Commons, kept 
closely in touch with the Scottish Universities when 
a bill was before the House. In March 1879, he wrote 
to Turner : — 

Athen^um Club, London, S.W., 
Afarch 8, 1879. 

My dear Turner, — From not knowing the habits of 
the House, you are unnecessarily alarmed about Lusk's Bill, 
which is never intended to pass.^ It will be opposed by the 
Government and be referred to the Committee which is to sit 
in the House of Commons on the Government Bill. 

No serious legislation is in contemplation until the Govern- 
ment Bill comes down from the Lords. The battle will then 
be chiefly in the Select Committee, and not on the floor of the 

• A private bill introduced by Dr Luak. 

THE MEDICAL ACTS OF 1858 AND 1886 285 

House, and you must be prepared to send witnesses to state 
the University case. 

I had hoped that you would have made some arrangements 
for making a Conjoint Board in Scotland, which was not 
hostile to University interests. My own opinion is against 
these Conjoint Boards, and in favour of the independence of 
the Universities. 

But medical opinion in England and Parliamentary opinion 
are dead against us on the question, and if you do not adjust 
your sails to the wind (which is not likely to change) you will 
find legislation go very injuriously to our interests. 

If the Duke of Buccleuch does not present the petition, I 
think Lord Rosebery would be the man to do so. 

Lyon Playfair. 

After a second reading in the House of Commons, 
the bill was referred to a Select Committee under the 
Chairmanship of the Right Honourable W. E. Forster, 
and Turner appeared as a witness before the Com- 
mittee. In his evidence he pressed the claims of the 
Scottish Universities to be left alone. He reviewed 
the history of the Staats Examen in Germany, which, 
when instituted in 1825, was virtually a one-portal 
system. It had proved a failure. The examination, 
which included anatomy and the clinical subjects, was 
carried out by a board appointed by the State, from 
which all the University professors were, as far as 
possible, excluded. The candidates were required to 
go to Berlin to be examined. The advocates of the 
one-portal system in Germany, like those who favoured 
it in this country, claimed for it the importance of 
securing a uniformity of examination. It gave rise, 
however, to great complaints both from students and 
teachers, on account of the inconvenience and expense 
necessitated by the journey to the capital and residence 
therein during the examination. It was found quite 
impossible to obtain a sufficient number of good exam- 
iners without taking University professors, and the 
complexity of the system led to frequent disputes as 
to privileges, which, along with the rapid growth of 
medical science, caused its final breakdown. In 1869, 


a fresh Staats Examen came into operation, but the 
system differed materially from the older method. It 
became a multi - portal system. The examination 
board, though appointed annually by the governing 
body of each State in which Universities existed, con- 
sisted practically of the professors and teachers of the 
Universities in which the examination took place. 
Although in some of the large cities, practitioners of 
eminence were placed upon the board, the Universities 
were always communicated with before any of the 
examiners were appointed by the State. As there 
were twenty Universities in Germany in 1879, there 
were therefore twenty legal modes of access to the 
medical profession. 

Turner submitted some interesting figures bearing 
upon the position of the University of Edinburgh as a 
medical school at that period. He had analysed the 
birthplaces of her students, and found that of the 1290 
men who matriculated in the Medical Faculty in 1878, 
565 or 43 per cent were born in Scotland ; 445 or 34 
per cent in England and Wales ; 22 or 1 "7 per cent 
in Ireland ; 75 or 5 per cent in India ; 149 or 11 per 
cent in the different British Colonies, while 34 or 
2 per cent came from foreign countries. 

Of 2319 Edinburgh graduates whose names were 
enrolled at that time, and who were engaged in the 
practice of their profession, exclusive of those em- 
ployed in the public services, 572 were in practice in 
Scotland, forming 30 per cent of the total number of 
medical practitioners in Scotland ; 274 practised in 
London, or 9 per cent of the total practising there ; 
857 were in England and Wales, forming 8 per cent 
of the total practitioners, while 108 or 4 per cent 
practised in Ireland ; 256 Edinburgh graduates were 
in the public services and mercantile marine, and 252 
practised abroad. There was ample evidence, there- 
fore, to justify the work that the University was 
carrying out. 

It was a mistake, he said, to regard the Scottish 

THE MEDICAL ACTS OF 1858 AND 1886 287 

Universities as imperfectly restricted and at liberty 
to fix the conditions and apply the tests upon which 
they granted their licence. Their regulations were 
framed by the Royal Commissioners appointed by the 
Act of Parliament in 1858, and every regulation was 
sanctioned by the Privy Council ; no change was 
possible unless that body approv^ed of it. The stand- 
ard of the Edinburgh curriculum was a higher one 
than that recommended under the Conjoint Scheme. 
The Edinburgh examinations were based upon a more 
extended system of education — scientific, practical, 
and clinical — and they embraced a wider range of 

There is a profound difference as regards medical education 
between the Scottish and English Universities. Tlie former 
are great teaching and graduating bodies not only for Scot- 
land, but for the Empire. I do not think at the pre.sent 
moment there is a single University in England which can 
give a complete medical education, so that they are in an 
entirely different position. The English Universities may 
yield some of their existing privileges for the sake of carry- 
ing out a Conjoint Board Scheme, and actually give up very 
little. If we were to yield, we should give up rights and 
privileges, interests and duties, which we feel that we cannot 
part with. We do much more than the Medical Corporations 
in England, who examine but do not teach. Their educating 
bodies are in the schools attached to the liospitals. We both 
educate and examine, and we fulfil in Scotland completely the 
ancient function of a university which is fulfilled all over the 
continent of Europe. 

Turner held the opinion that, unless the Legislature 
determined upon a lower standard than that which the 
Scottish Universities exacted, it would not be possible 
to obtain the number of entrants into the profession 
which the needs of the public required. He suggested 
to the Select Committee a proposal that, as regards 
University students, the Conjoint Examination should 
be restricted to the clinical subjects, thus testing each 
candidate in his knowledge of what was necessary 
for practice, as that was one of the points raised in the 


present a^ntation. li' there was to be any legislation, 
that, in his opinion, seemed all that was necessary. 

Writing to John Struthers in February 1880, 
shortly before the latter was to give his evidence 
l)efore the Committee, Turner said — 

The Select Committee of the House of Commons is to meet 
on Friday to choose a Chairman. Mr W. E. Forster is un- 
willing to act any longer in that capacity, and it is thought 
that Lord George Hamilton will be appointed. Mr Robert 
Lowe has been put upon the Committee in place of the de- 
ceased Mr OLeary. Mr Lowe is a strong opponent of the 
Scottish University system, and his appointment adds to the 
Committee a powerful antagonistic element. 

Our Faculty has now decided not to enter into the question 
of a compromise. You will be quite at liberty to refer to the 
English Conjoint Scheme and to quote it. 

The Chairman in the main followed my precis, and I had 
before me a duplicate copy with copious notes, so that I more 
than once called him back to the line of evidence when he was 
diverging from it. 

As you will probably be asked what you would propose 
should be done if legislation is recommended, you should care- 
fully consider with Gairdner what proposal should be made. 
Let me refer you to the Duke of Buccleuch's Amendment and 
to the alternative proposal which I made in my evidence, as 
possible forms of compromise. I have not yet got a copy of 
the Government Bill of this year. 

The Government Bill was re-introduced in 1880 
with little change, and was again referred to Mr 
Forster's reconstituted Committee. Parliament, how- 
ever, dissolved unexpectedly, Disraeli went out of office, 
and a new administration was formed under Gladstone. 

The Government now appointed a Royal Commis- 
sion, known as the Medical Acts Commission, 1881, 
and Turner was invited to take a seat upon it. 

Spencer House, St James's Place, S.W., 
April 2, 1881. 

Sir, — The Government are about to appoint a Roj^al 
Commission to consider Medical Education, the method of 

THE MEDICAL ACTS OF 1858 AND 1886 289 

Registering and Licensing Practitioners, and the Constitution 
of the Medical Council. 

The inquiry will extend to the United Kingdom. 

I should be very glad if I could secure your services. 

Your wide experience and knowledge of the subject, both 
in England and Scotland, would make your appointment 
acceptable to all who are interested in this important 

I hope, therefore, that you will permit me to submit j'our 
name to the Queen for the Commission. c, 


The Commission, under the Chairmanship of Lord 
Camperdown, was a strong one, and the interests of 
the general public were fully guaranteed by the ap- 
pointment of such men as Sir George Jessel, Master 
of the Kolls ; William Connor Magee, Bishop of Peter- 
borough ; Professor James Bryce of Oxford University ; 
and George Sclater Booth, M.P. The other members 
of the Commission, in addition to Turner, were Sir 
William Jenner, Sir John Simon, Thomas Henry 
Huxley, Robert M'Donnel, and W. H. F. Cogan. 
The Commissioners sat for six months, and their 
work covered a very exhaustive field of inquiry. It 
would be superfluous to enter here into the reasons 
which influenced the Commission in drawing up 
their flnal conclusions as to the methods of grant- 
ing licenses to practise ; suflice it to say that the 
following proposals were submitted : — 

There shall be one Medical Council, and in each of the 
three divisions of the United Kingdom there shall be a 
Divisional Board, representing all the Medical Authorities 
of the division ; 

That the right of admitting to the Medical Register and 
a general control over the proceedings of the Divisional 
Boards shall rest in the Medical Council ; 

And that, subject to such control, each Divisional Board 
shall, in its own division, conduct the examinations for 

The Commission were of the opinion that the Final 
Examination in Medicine, Surgery, and Midwifery 



ought to be conducted by the Divisional Board. The 
one-portal system, therefore, was again advocated. 

The Commission was unable to accede to the 
request of the witnesses representing the Scottish 
Universities, that they should be allowed to retain 
their licensing power on the condition that they ad- 
mitted a certain number of external examiners. While 
readily acknowledging all that the Scottish Univer- 
sities had done for medical education and examination, 
and recognising its cheapness and excellence, they 
nevertheless felt that to accede to their request would 
be to raise these Universities above all the existing 
medical authorities, and to leave to them alone the 
licensing power which they proposed in every other 
case to take away. The Scottish Universities were 
to have a preponderating influence upon the Divisional 
Board, the examinations would doubtless be held in 
their halls, and it was only natural to suppose that 
any request which they might make would have great 
weight with the Scottish Divisional Board and with 
the Medical Council. They hoped, therefore, that 
the Universities would admit that the privilege which 
they sought was incompatible with the institution of 
a common licensing system. 

To the General Report of the Commission, which 
was signed by all the members, three Minority Reports 
dealing with the licensing proposals were added, and 
signed respectively by the Bishop of Peterborough, 
Huxley, and Turner. The Bishop was in favour of 
the Staats JExamen, which was suggested in the 
General Report as an alternative scheme. The ex- 
amination, he considered, should be conducted on 
behalf of the State, prior to enrolment on the 
Medical Register ; and it should only be open to 
those who had previously obtained a complete quali- 
fication, whether by licence or degree, from any of 
the existing medical authorities. It would effect, 
with the least cost of time and expense to the 
student, and with the least disturbance of existing 

THE MEDICAL ACTS OF 1858 AND 1886 291 

interests, the reform of these defects, which admit- 
tedly existed in the present licensing system. Huxley, 
while admitting the right of the State to ask for 
efficiency, on the ground that it required certificates 
from medical experts, or the evidence of certain per- 
sons as such, and that it employed a large number 
of medical practitioners, considered that this efficiency 
might be obtained without interfering with the privi- 
leges of the Universities and Medical Coporations. 
He therefore proposed that, if the examining bodies 
satisfied the Medical Council or other State authority 
of the ,efficiency of their examinations, and if they 
admitted a certain number of coadjutor examiners ap- 
pointed by the State, the desired end would be obtained. 

Turner's proposals, which were supported on very 
similar grounds to those submitted by Huxley, were 
four in number : (a) No person shall receive a licence 
to practise and be admitted to the Medical Register 
who does not possess complete qualifications in 
Medicine, Surgery, and Midwifery. [h) Diplomas 
granted by the Universities which conduct complete 
examinations and confer degrees in Medicine and 
Surgery shall also be licences to practise and admit 
to the Register, (c) The Corporations which grant 
diplomas in Medicine alone, or in Surgery alone, 
shall combine in each Division of the Kingdom, 
conduct a complete examination, and confer a quali- 
fication in Medicine and Surgery which shall admit 
to the Register, [d) The Medical Council shall ap- 
point assessors to attend the several examinations, 
to report after each examination if it be satisfactory 
or not, and the Medical Council shall have power to 
suspend all examinations which are not of a sufficient 
standard of efficiency. 

As regards the two Societies of Apothecaries, he 
held the opinion that their existence as Licensing 
Bodies was an anachronism, and that they should 
in future cease to take part in conducting examina- 
tions for a licence to practise. The proposals " would 


secure a Ratisfactory standard of examination, and 
would induce the various bodies to be always on the 
alert to perfect their system and readjust it to the 
advancing state of knowledge and new methods of 
education. They would not destroy the individuality 
of the Universities and the Royal Colleges and the 
Faculty of Physicians and Surgeons, and would 
utilise their existing examination machinery, and 
their revenues, derived from examinations, would be 
in the ratio of their deserts. An efficient inspection 
of their examinations would be secured : no person 
would gain access to the Register without^ a com- 
plete qualification, and the number of Licensing 
Authorities would be reduced. If the State is dis- 
satisfied with the examinations conducted by the 
medical authorities of the United Kingdom, and 
thinks it necessary to impose a central control in 
the form of Divisional Boards, then I would submit 
that the additional cost of this machinery should 
not fall upon the already heavily weighted candidate, 
but should be borne by the State." 

Turner took exception to the one-sided expression 
of opinion made in the Report of the Commission as 
to the character of the examinations of the Edinburgh 
College of Surgeons and the Glasgow Faculty of 
Physicians and Surgeons. Some of the witnesses had 
commented unfavourably upon them. " It would only 
have been fair to these Bodies," he wrote, " to have 
stated also that other witnesses had expressed them- 
selves very decidedly that the examinations of these 
Bodies are satisfactory and of a thoroughly practical 

In 1883, the Government introduced into the House 
of Lords a bill to carry out the proposals suggested 
in the majority Report of the Ro3^al Commission. As 
we have seen, the Commissioners had recommended 
that the Scottish Universities should have a " pre- 
ponderating" influence upon the Divisional Board in 

THE MEDICAL ACTS OF 1858 AND 1886 293 

Scotland, and the bill provided that they should 
have eight representatives, and that the Medical 
Corporations should have three members. It was 
unfortunate that the unity, which had hitherto ex- 
isted throughout the greater part of the controversy 
between the Universities and the Corporations, threat- 
ened to break down over this particular point. The 
Koyal Colleges in Edinburgh were afraid that the 
University majority upon the Board would have a 
prejudicial effect upon extra-mural teaching, and that 
there would be a tendency to exclude the extra- 
academical teachers from election as examiners. This 
risk, however, seemed to be sufficiently safeguarded 
against by the fundamental principle contained in 
the constitution of the Board, which required that 
the examiners should be representative of both Bodies, 
and that their names should be submitted to the 
Medical Council, and, if necessary, to the Privy 
Council. Nevertheless, a feeling of hostility was 
aroused. Turner, who had been elected President 
of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh in 
October 1882, found his position upon the Council of 
the College a very trying one. The meetings of the 
Council evoked some stormy scenes, and, Hnding his 
position as President incompatible with his University 
interests, he declined to be nominated for a second 
period of office, and resigned his Presidency in the 
autumn of 1883. 

Deputations from both parties interviewed the 
Government authorities and put forward their respec- 
tive claims for just treatment. The Lord Advocate, 
who received the deputations, might well have ex- 
claimed with Mercutio, " A plague o' both your 
Houses." There was every expectation that the bill 
would be passed, and that the long-drawn-out contro- 
versy would at last be settled, but owing to the 
pressure of business the Government were obliged to 
withdraw it. 

It was quite obvious that the State was determined 


to carry through legislation in favour of the one-portal 
system in each division of the country, and accord- 
ingly the Amendment Bill of 1884 was introduced 
with certain modifications. The position of the 
Scottish Medical Corporations upon the Divisional 
Board had been improved by raising their representa- 
tion from three to five, the Universities retaining their 
eight members. Prior to its introduction, however, an 
important step was taken by the Boyal Colleges in 
England, which largely took the ground from under 
the feet of the bill. The Colleges of Physicians and 
Surgeons voluntarily presented to the Medical Council 
a scheme of co-operation for purposes of examination 
and of granting a double qualification for admission to 
the Register. The two Medical Corporations in Edin- 
burgh, along with the Faculty of Physicians and 
Surgeons of Glasgow, at the same time agreed to com- 
bine upon a scheme for granting a triple qualification, 
which was approved of by the Medical Council on 
March 31, 1884. In Ireland, where the feeling in 
favour of the Conjoint Scheme had gradually grown 
weaker, the Royal College of Surgeons and the King 
and Queen's College of Physicians also resolved upon 
a scheme of co-operation, though the Medical Act of 
1886 probably determined this finally, as it was not 
until that year that the scheme was ratified. The 
bill of 1884 shared the same fate as its predecessors. 
Gladstone's Ministry went out of ofiice, and Lord 
Salisbury came into power for a brief period. 

The curtain rang up upon the last Act, when a bill, 
introduced in 1886, became law in the same year. The 
result of the protracted delay in legislation had caused 
a gradual breaking-up of every measure framed for the 
adoption of Conjoint or Divisional Boards. The various 
Licensing Bodies, which, by default, had failed to 
secure for their candidates either a proper standard of 
education or a complete test by examination, had at 
last voluntarily done what the Scottish Universities 
and the Medical Corporations in Scotland had carried 

THE MEDICAL ACTS OF 1858 AND 1886 295 

out nearly thirty years earlier. The Medical Act of 
1886 set its seal upon the attitude which the Univer- 
sities in Scotland had consistently maintained, and 
they had their reward for the many years of persistent 
but patient endeavour to maintain their position. 

The Government accepted the situation, and the bill 
in its main features, for which Sir Lyon Playfair was 
largely responsible, was drawn up along the lines of 
the four proposals which had been suggested by Turner 
in his Minority Report presented to the Royal Com- 
mission in 1881. The existing machinery for the pur- 
poses of examination was utilised, and the individuality 
of the different Licensing Bodies was preserved by the 
Medical Act of 1886. 

** It is not so many years ago," Turner wrote in 
1891, "that the medical profession in England raised 
for itself a fetish, which was called the one-portal 
system — a method of admission to the privileges of 
practice which, had it ever come into operation, would 
have widened the breach between teaching and exam- 
ination to an extent much greater than now prevails. 
It would, I believe, have discouraged healthy and legiti- 
mate study, and have encouraged a wholesale system 
of cramming. Fortunately for the future of our pro- 
fession, the cry for a single examining Board, either for 
the whole Kingdom or for each division, has practically 
ceased from the passing of the Medical Act of 1886." 

Amongst the men who at that time took a promi- 
nent part in upholding the position of medical educa- 
tion in Scotland, were William Tennant Gairdner, the 
Professor of Medicine and the accomplished advocate 
of the claims of Glasgow University, and Daniel 
Rutherford Haldane, who, as President of the Royal 
College of Physicians of Edinburgh, used his great 
gifts on behalf of the Medical Corporations. But three 
vigorous personalities accomplished more than any of 
the others who took part in the controversy. Much 
of the development and organisation of the Scottish 
attitude against the Conjoint Scheme was due to 


the influence of the striking personality of Andrew 
Wood, a former President of the Royal College of 
Surgeons of Edinburgh. Though, at first, a supporter 
of the scheme, his views underwent a notable change, 
and he threw himself against it with all the energy of 
the perfervidum ingenium Scotorum, so characteristic 
of a complete change of faith. He was a powerful 
force both in the profession in Scotland and in the 
deliberations of the Medical Council. John Struthers 
championed Aberdeen University with that tenacity 
of purpose which was so characteristic of the man in 
all things which he set his hand to accomplish, and he 
vigorously combated all opposition. William Turner, 
equally determined, but quietly and firmly, threw all 
the weight of his well-balanced judgment into the 
cause of the Scottish Universities, in order to maintain 
their existing status. He visioned clearly not only 
what it meant to preserve their autonomy at that 
time, but how much their future progress and success 
depended upon a definite and final settlement of an 
unduly protracted controversy. The " Thirty Years' 
War " in which he fought had been followed by thirty 
years of peace, when he laid down his generalship in 
1916. New generations may arise who may not hold 
themselves bound by the verdict of their forefatheis, 
and may seek to reopen a contest for a one-portal 
system ; but the question of the outbreak of future 
hostilities lies in the womb of the future, and no one 
can say who may arise to take his piece, and lead the 
fight against it, should the occasion ever arise. 





Constitution and Function of the Medical Council — Original Mem- 
bers of Council — Turner elected in 1873 — Sir Henry Acland 
— Edinburgh and Oxford — Turner's Colleagues on the Council 
— Direct Representation of the Profession and Turner's Opposi- 
tion — The Eeconstituted Council of 1886 — Turner's new Col- 
leagues — Midwives' Act and Medical Reciprocity — Election as 
President — Resignation of Chair and Retirement. 

Turner's activities outside his sphere of work as a 
teacher and investigator were directed mainly towards 
advancing scientific education in his adopted Uni- 
versity, and in endeavouring to improve the means 
necessary to make it thoroughly effective. Had it 
been his lot to live in the first half of the century 
instead of in the second, it would have been suflicient 
for him to have focussed all his interest and energies 
in this field of usefulness, without expending either 
time or thought upon the educational development of 
the other teaching and licensing institutions in the 

With the Medical Act of 1858, however, a great 
change came over the position and the relations of 
these Bodies. They could no longer regard themselves 
as isolated units. Previous to this date, each had 


followed more or less independently its own educa- 
tional path and exercised its judgment, both as to the 
training required and the knowledge to be expected 
of its candidates. It was possible, too, for one body to 
undersell another, by cheapening the standard of its 
examinations, to exchange titles for fees, rather than 
bestow them upon evidence of merit ; and the candi- 
dates in their turn, once they were qualified, were 
largely restricted in their choice of area of practice 
by territorial limitations. By the establishment of a 
central authority, the various licensing institutions 
were deprived, to some extent, of their power of inde- 
pendent action, and had to conform to certain regula- 
tions in the matter of educating and examining their 
students of medicine. The intellectual standard that 
was to be exacted from the Universities and Corpora- 
tions became, from that time, a matter of moment to 
all who laboured in the best interests of the profes- 
sion, and thus it was necessary for the men endowed 
with administrative ability to enlarge their outlook 
and to use their talents for the improvement, not only 
of their own Schools, but of those of their neighbours. 
Each of the licensing and degree-conferring bodies was 
called upon to send a representative to constitute the 
central authority which was required to deliberate 
upon such matters as were prescribed under the Act. 

The Medical Council which Parliament set up in 
1858 had two main functions to discharg-e. It was to 
be a Board of Registration and a Council of Education. 
In the former capacity it had to prepare and maintain 
the Medical Register, upon which it placed the names 
of all duly qualified medical men. The Council was 
further provided with the power of removing the 
unworthy from the Register. " In fulfilment of this 
function, partly by the force of necessity and partly in 
virtue of the interpretation of the law by Judges, it 
has become a professional Court of Justice, a domestic 
forum for the trial and determination of grave charges 
against registered practitioners in their professional 


capacity. It has no authority to compel the attend- 
ance of witnesses, to administer oaths, or to call for 
the production of documents. It has only one judg- 
ment to give when a charge is proved to its satisfaction, 
namely, ' guilty of infamous conduct in a professional 
respect': and only one sentence, when judgment is 
given, namely, 'erasure from the Register.' From 
this sentence and judgment, given after proper inquiry 
and without malice, the High Court of Justice has 
pronounced that there is no appeal." ^ 

As a Council of Education, its statutory powers were 
strictly limited. The Council had to frame a system 
of medical instruction applicable to all the teaching 
and licensing bodies ; to suggest what, in their opinion, 
was a minimum standard of education ; but it had no 
power to lay down a compulsory curriculum. It could 
require from these bodies information concerning their 
course of studies, the means adopted for teaching, and 
the conduct of their professional examinations. It 
could visit and inspect the examinations held by the 
Universities and Colleges, and though it might find 
the latter insufficient, it had not the power either to 
disallow them or to amend them. If, after reporting 
to the medical authority, the Council still found the 
examination insufficient, the position was laid before 
the Privy Council, which then dealt with the body 
concerned, removing its further power to give licences, 
if it thought fit, and reinstating it if the conditions 
were again improved. 

Legislation did not aim at introducing absolute uni- 
formity throughout the Schools. One great merit in 
the teaching system lay in the freedom whicli was left 
to each of the educational institutions to enhance its 
reputation, by providing for its students something 
more than the bare necessities for acquiring the 
minimum knowledge expected of them. The indi- 
viduality of each University and Medical Corporation 

' Sir Donald Macalister, K.C'.B. Introductory Address delivered at 
the University of Manchester, October 1906. 


was not Interfered with. Competition between the 
different Schools was not discouraged, but each was 
left free to stimulate its best qualities. " The institu- 
tion which, cceteris 2^(X'ribus, affords the most efficient 
teaching will have the best reputation, and be the 
most resorted to. The interest involved in the com- 
petition is the interest of improvement." ^ 

Other subsidiary duties were relegated to the 
Medical Council. The preparation and publication 
of a British Pharmacopceia was entrusted to it. The 
control of Diplomas in Public Health, and the regu- 
lations regarding mldwives and the Register of the 
Dental Profession, came under its supervision. Bills 
coming before the Legislature bearing upon medical 
and scientific subjects were carefully considered by 
the members, their advice was sought by the Privy 
Council, reports were draw^n up and deputations 
appeared before Ministers of the Crown. The work 
of the Council could never be regarded as at an 
end. With a science so constantly progressive as 
that of medicine, some authority must always be 
necessary to introduce and sanction alterations in 
education and examination in order to meet the 
constantly changing conditions, and, unfortunately, 
the function of the Council as a professional Court of 
Justice is only too frequently called into requisition. 
Created in the interests of the public rather than 
of the profession, it has no authority to legislate for 
the latter body : it can levy no subscriptions ; it has 
no word to say on the matter of rates of pay, hours 
of work, or disputes with employees ; it offers no 
pecuniary benefits or strike pay. The Council is 
neither a Parliament of the profession, nor a medical 
trades union. 

The Medical Council met for the first time on 
November 23, 1858. To the profession, the meeting 

^ Op. cit. 


was undoubtedly one of historical interest, marking 
the commencement of* a new epoch in the relation 
of the practitioner to the public, and in the conduct 
of medical education. Summoned by Her Majesty's 
Secretary of State for the Home Department, the 
members assembled in the Hall of the Royal College 
of Physicians of London. In the terms of the Medical 
Act, the Council consisted of twenty-four members, 
appointed for a term of five years, and eligible for re- 
election. Seventeen, chosen by the governing bodies 
of the different Universities and Corporations, repre- 
sented the nineteen licensing institutions in the 
country, while six were nominated by the Crown on 
the advice of the Privy Council, four from England 
and one from Scotland and Ireland respectively. The 
membership was completed by the election of the 
President, which was the first duty devolving upon 
the Council at its inaugural meeting. 

The choice of the members fell unanimously u})on 
Sir Benjamin Collins Brodie, Bart., who was at that 
time the most distinguished and authoritative member 
of the profession. Almost simultaneously with the 
receipt of this, however, Brodie was elected President 
of the Royal Society, and was thus the recipient of 
two singular distinctions within the space of a few 
days. He had bestowed much thought and care upon 
the subject of medical education, entertaining views 
which were both liberal and enlightened. Sixty-five 
years of age at the time of his election, an increasing 
physical disability due to failing eyesight unfortu- 
nately rendered his occupation of the Presidential 
Chair a brief one, and in 18 GO he was obliged to 
resign.^ The Council chose as his successor Joseph 
Henry Green, one of their own number, and the 
representative of the Royal College of Surgeons of 
England. The disciple, friend, and literary executor 
of Coleridge, Green was generally looked upon as 
an authority on medical education and reform. He 

' Sir Benjamin Brodie. Masters of Medicine Series. 


remained in office until his death in 1863, when the 
succession fell upon Sir Geor(,^e Burrows, the physician, 
Turner's old teacher at St Bartholomew's. Thus the 
Council, in the first five years of its existence, had 
been called upon to select three Presidents, In order 
to maintain the proper numerical constitution of the 
Council in the early period of its history, it was neces- 
sary that the licensing body whose representative was 
called to the Presidential Chair should send a fresh 
member to fill the place thus vacated. This arrange- 
ment ceased to exist when the Council was recon- 
stituted in 1886. 

Amongst the original members who met in London 
in 1858, in addition to the three men elected to the 
Presidential Chair, we find Sir Thomas Watson, Bart., 
the distinguished physician and Professor at King's 
College, whose text-book on Medicine, apart from its 
intrinsic merit, possessed a literary charm which has 
made it a classic in English medical literature. Sir 
Charles Hastings, a graduate of Edinburgh in 1818, 
and practising in Worcestershire, was a leading spirit 
in all that pertained to the improvement of the 
medical profession. To his influence and energy it 
is indebted for the founding of the British Medical 
Association. Hastings sat upon the Council for five 
years as one of the four nominees of the Crown for 
England, and associated with him in the same position 
were Sir William Lawrence, Sir James Clark, Bart., 
and Thomas Pridgin Teale of Leeds. 

In 1825, the graduation roll of the University of 
Edinburgh contained the names of forty-seven men 
who claimed Ireland as the country of their birth. 
Of these, two at least had climbed to fame, and in 
1858 were amongst the representatives on the Medi- 
cal Council : William Stokes, one of the founders 
of Clinical Medicine, and the Regius Professor in 
the University of Dublin, the disciple of Laennec, 
and one to whom, as the advocate of the science 
and practice of the stethoscope, this country stands 


for all time indebted ; the second, Sir Dominic 
Corrigan, the witty and brilliant Irishman, five times 
President of the College of Physicians of Ireland, and 
afterwards a Parliamentary representative of Dublin 

Scotland sent a strong representation. Sir Robert 
Christison was nominated by the Crown, and for 
fifteen years he gave the Council the benefit of his 
wide experience. As convener of the first British 
Pharmacopoeia Committee, he presided over its con- 
ferences in the stormy days which attended its early 
endeavours to decide many controversial " national " 
differences as to the preparations and dosage of 
various drug's. The four Scottish Universities sent 
two members — Dr J. A. Lawrie from Glasgow and 
St Andrews, and Professor James Syme from Aber- 
deen and Edinburgh. Syme's broad views on educa- 
tion were of special value in the early deliberations 
upon this important subject. From time to time the 
old combative spirit, which could never be entirely 
repressed, broke out, and the atmosphere of the 
Council Chamber became distinctly enlivened when 
Scotsman and Irishman crossed swords in debate. 

The Medical Corporations of Edinburgh were repre- 
sented by the two Woods. We have already learned 
somethinof of the force of character and untirinir 
energy of Andrew Wood, President of the Royal 
College of Surgeons, in the part which he played in 
the struggle against the introduction of the one-portal 
system. He retained his seat on the Council until 
his death in 1881, and during a period of membership 
lasting twenty-three years, he took an active share 
in the Council's affairs. Alexander Wood, President 
of the Royal College of Physicians, had made his 
mark in the counsels of his College, and no one was 
more fitted than he to enter that wider sphere of 
usefulness which the work of the Medical Council 
offered. A regular and unfailing attendant at its 
meetings, he advocated his views with a force and 


clearness, and with a sincerity of purpose, which 
carried conviction to the minds of his audience. Dur- 
ing the fifteen years of his service, he was chairman 
of no fewer than thirteen committees. He frequently 
found himself in opposition to Sir Dominic Corrigan, 
"when the humorous and sparkling jokes of the Irish 
Baronet were met by the cool, calm, and judicious 
reasoning of the Scot, who was generally regarded 
as coming off victorious in the fight." ^ 

In November 1873, Turner entered the Medical 
Council as the representative of the Universities of 
Aberdeen and Edinburgh. On the resignation of 
Professor James Syme in 1868, Dr James Macrobin 
had filled the vacancy as the nominee of Aberdeen 
University, and when the five years which consti- 
tuted his period of office had expired, it was natural 
that Edinburgh should desire to appoint a successor. 
Turner commenced his work by attending the meeting 
of the Scottish Branch of the Council in the month 
of December, but it was not until July of the 
following year that he took his seat at the General 
Meeting in London, along with two new Scottish 
representatives, Daniel Rutherford Haldane, the suc- 
cessor of Alexander Wood, and James Warburton 
Begbie, the Crown nominee, on the retirement of Sir 
Robert Christison. 

The year 1874 marked two interesting events in the 
history of the Medical Council. The members, who 
for fifteen years had met in the Hall of the Royal 
College of Physicians of London, with the exception 
of a brief period at 132 Soho Square, now occupied for 
the first time their new premises at 299 Oxford Street, 
which remained as the home of the Council for forty- 
two years. In 1916, the new buildings at 44 Hallam 
Street, Portland Place, in the planning of which 

^ * Alexander Wood, M.D.,' by the Rev. Thomas Brown. 


Turner had taken great interest, and at whose formal 
opening he had hoped to attend, were occupied a 
few months after his death. The foundation-stone 
of the old building in Oxford Street, which had 
become the Council's offices, had been laid by the 
Prince Consort : the stone was transferred to the 
Hallam Street house, where it has been placed in the 
wall of the entrance hall as a memorial of the Council's 
first home. The mere change of premises is not in 
itself a matter of outstanding importance, but in 
recording Turner's life we see the commencement and 
termination of so many events contemporaneous with 
his entrance and exit, that the coincidence leaves a 
definite impression upon the mind. 

The year was further signalised by the election of 
Sir Henry Wentworth Acland, the Regius Professor 
of Medicine in Oxford, as President, in succession to 
Sir George Edward Paget of Cambridge, who had 
occupied the chair since the resignation of Sir George 
Burrows in 1868. Henry Acland was one of the 
original members of the Council in 1858, and his 
period of service extended to twenty-nine years, dur- 
ing the last thirteen of which he was President. In 
this capacity he expended much time and labour : 
the term of his Presidency was a specially difficult 
one, as it synchronised with a great part of the pro- 
tracted controversy upon medical reform both within 
and outside the Legislature. " His academic and 
social position, and the innate nobility of his nature, 
had from an early period of his life gained for him 
the friendship and confidence of the leaders of the 
medical profession, of statesmen of both parties, and 
others eminent in public life, and contributed in no 
small measure to ensure harmonious relations be- 
tween the Medical Council and the departments of 
Government with which it is brought into official 
communication." ^ 

1 Sir William Turner. Obituary Notice of Sir Heurv Acland, Traus- 
actious of the Iloyal Society. 



Turner had made Acland's acquaintance during 
those brief but not infrequent visits to Rolleston at 
Oxford, which he was in the habit of making in his 
early days in Edinburgh. The friendship which he 
then formed with Acland, who was seventeen years 
his senior, became a very intimate one, and during 
the period when they worked together upon the 
Medical Council, Turner became one of Acland's most 
trusted friends. It was a source of unfeigned pleasure 
to the latter to learn, shortly before his death, that 
Turner had been elected to the Presidential Chair. 
For the one, there was always an open house in 
Oxford — for the other, a cordial reception in Edin- 
burgh ; and at Holnicote, the home of the Aclands 
on the borders of Exmoor, " where the happy valley 
opens towards the west upon the Bristol Channel," 
Turner was certain of receiving a friendly welcome. 

Their association in work was not limited, however, 
to the Council Chamber. In Acland's struggle for 
the due recognition of a scientific school of biology 
in Oxford during the seventies, he had Turner's whole- 
hearted support. The early days of science in the 
southern University had been closely connected with 
the Edinburgh Anatomical Department, the first link 
in the chain having been forged as far back as 1844. 
Acland, during his student days at St George's 
Hospital, migrated to Edinburgh for a period of 
study, and while living with Professor Alison in 
Heriot Row, he came under the influence of John 
Goodsir, who was then the Curator of the Museum. 
When, in 1845, the Lee's Readership in Anatomy at 
Oxford became vacant, the appointment was offered 
to Acland, who, with Goodsir's guidance and assist- 
ance, collected and prepared his material for the 
illustration of his lectures, and in the company of 
Edward Forbes he dredged the waters round the 
Orkneys and Shetlands in order to supplement his 
collection of marine fauna. The fourteen large pack- 
ing cases containing the fruits of his labours were 


safely transhipped to Oxford, after being held up at 
the London docks on the suspicion that they con- 
tained a quantity of smuggled whisky. When the 
new Anatomical Department of the University of 
Oxford was completed in 1893, Turner travelled south 
and assisted in the opening ceremony. The links in 
the chain are as yet unbroken, for in the hands of 
Professor Arthur Thomson, Turner's former Senior 
Demonstrator, the teaching of Anatomy in Acland's 
old school is still carried on year by year. 

With Sir Henry's promotion to the Presidency, the 
representation of Oxford University became vacant. 
His place on the Council was taken by George Rolles- 
ton, and thus the three friends became closely associ- 
ated in the deliberations of that body. Two years 
later, Sir James Paget took his seat along with Joseph 
Lister. Paget, Turner and Rolleston, the master 
and the pupils in the old days at St Bartholomew's, 
renewed their earlier intercourse. In 1876, Paget was 
President of the Royal College of Surgeons of Eng- 
land, and entered the Council as its representative. 
But the work never proved congenial to him. The 
controversy on medical reform was constantly occupy- 
ing the attention of the members, and little progress 
was made with it. It was perhaps not unnatural 
that he should find the business unsatisfactory. His 
desire not to desert Acland greatly influenced his 
decision to continue his membership until 1881, the 
end of his appointed term of office. Writing to 
Turner in 1896, three years before his death, Paget 
said — 

I was sorry, but not surprised, that I did not see you during 
the meeting of the Medical Council. I am much less active 
than I used to be, and could not come at the right time to the 
office, and this house is so much further off than the old one 
used to be. Very evidently, too, your work was constant and 
heavy, and the whole business of the Council is constantly 
becoming more political. And the direct representatives will 
not improve it, but will steadily diminish its influence on the 
advancement of science and all forms of useful knowledge. 


But, bah ! I am growing old, and my judgment on political 
affairs may be as little fit for use, as my thoughts on pathology 
fifty years ago would now be. 

Joseph Lister had succeeded War burton Begbie as 
Crown nominee for Scotland, and was introduced to 
the Council by Turner. He resigned in the following 
year upon his appointment to King's College, and he 
did not seek re-election. 

At this period Sir John Simon, K.C.B., became a 
member, nominated as one of the Crown's repre- 
sentatives for England. In 1848, Simon had been 
appointed the first Medical Officer of Health for the 
City of London, and, in his ' English Sanitary Insti- 
tutions,' a work fitly described as a philosophy of 
sanitary reform, he revealed himself as the greatest 
public health authority of his time. A man of literary 
and artistic pursuits, the "dear brother John" of 
Ruskin, and the intimate friend of Sir Edward Burne- 
Jones, Simon formed one of that conspicuous group 
of outstanding figures in the medical profession during 
the Victorian era. His opinion and advice carried 
the greatest weight in the Council, and as a master 
of correct English, its reports bear proof that he was 
not only a scholar, but a most capable man of business. 

In 1876, Lord Carnarvon introduced the Cruelty to 
Animals Bill into the House of Lords, and the vivi- 
section question, already investigated at some length 
during the previous year by a Royal Commission, 
aroused considerable public attention, and called for 
the close scrutiny of the Medical Council. Lister was 
appointed the chairman of a committee of the Council, 
with Turner and Rolleston as two of its members, to 
consider and report upon the Bill. Lister was opposed 
to legislation, and endeavoured to mitigate the severe 
restrictions imposed by the Bill, but he was unable to 
carry his point of view, that vivisection experiments 
should be permitted in unlicensed premises. Turner 
took up the position that while legislation should give 


all reasonable security against any possible abuse, it 
should not interfere with the progress of knowledge. 
The stringent provisions of the Act were in great 
measure framed on Kolleston's recommendations in 
his evidence before the Royal Commission. " I am 
greatly delighted with Mr W. E. Forster," he wrote 
to a friend. " He has made the Government accept 
an amendment which I, in my smaller sphere, had 
made the Medical Council accept, whereby frogs are 
not to be left to the tender mercies of every would-be 
experimenter. The passing of this Cruelty to Animals 
Bill is a great step in the history of mankind." ^ 

This was not the only piece of legislative work to 
the consideration of which the Council had to turn 
its attention at this period, and its Parliamentary 
Bills Committee, of which Turner was an active mem- 
ber, had many questions upon which to deliberate. 
In addition to discussions on the several Medical Act 
Amendment Bills, the placing upon the British Reg- 
ister of women who had taken degrees in foreign 
Universities, and the removal of sex restrictions in 
the granting of qualifications to practise in Britain, 
claimed its attention ; while the proposal that the 
holding of a diploma in State Medicine should be 
sufficient in itself to admit upon the Register, formed 
another source of discussion. Upon all these matters 
the Council reported to the Privy Council. With 
regard to the registration of women holding a foreign 
degree, they pointed out, that it was obvious they 
could not enrol upon the Register a degree over which 
they had no means of exercising any control, in con- 
nection with the education and examination of the 
candidates who had obtained it. To adopt such a 
principle would be entirely contrary both to the spirit 
and letter of the Medical Act ; while on the general 
question of the admission of women to the medical 
profession, the Council felt that any such proposal 

^ Life of Dr Rulleston, by Edward B. Tylor, in Scientific Papers and 
Addresses, arranged and edited by William Turner. 


shouM be left to the discretion of the various licensing 
bodies, and should not be made obligatory. Finally, 
they were of the opinion that a degree or diploma in 
State Medicine or Public Health could not in itself 
constitute a claim for enrolment upon the Register. 

In 1878, the general body of the profession had 
begun to move for a reconstitution of the Medical 
Council. Hitherto, it had only been represented 
indirectly through the delegates of the different 
Universities and Medical Corporations. Some, indeed, 
held that the profession had no representation at all, 
as the election of members to the Council was made 
by the governing bodies of the various institutions, 
upon which the profession as a whole had no voice. 
We have seen ^ how Lord Ripon's Bill to amend the 
Medical Act was wrecked in 1870, because it made no 
attempt to reconstruct the Executive, through which 
the Act was to be worked. The profession, indeed, 
had preferred that there should be no legislation at 
all, rather than accept legislation which did not 
reform the Medical Council. A deputation repre- 
senting the profession was received by the Council, 
and after it had heard the Various statements and 
arguments put forward in favour of direct repre- 
sentation, it promised to give the subject careful 
attention. As a result of their deliberations, a re- 
solution was carried, to the effect that the direct 
representation of the whole profession would not 
afford sufficient guarantee for the selection of the 
persons best qualified to perform those duties, and 
consequently the Council could not recommend that 
the principle should be adopted. At the same time, 
there was a feeling amongst a number of the mem- 
bers that the profession, as a body, should be more 
largely represented, and suggestions were put for- 
ward that this might be accomplished, not by the 
direct vote of the profession, but by increasing the 

1 Chapter XI. 


number of Crown nominees, who should not be mem- 
bers of the governing bodies of the Universities and 
Medical Corporations. 

The reconstitution of the Council was made one of 
the subjects of inquiry by the Medical Acts Com- 
mission of 1881, and in the report of the Commission 
the opinion was expressed that it would be advisable 
to give the profession an effective voice in the de- 
liberations of the Medical Council, as that body was 
the principal authority of the medical profession. 
Two members of the Commission, however. Turner 
and Sir John Simon, were unable to concur in this 
general conclusion, and presented a Minority Report. 

They based their dissent upon the grounds that the 
Council did not stand in any relation of trust or duty 
towards individual members of the profession, such as 
to make it reasonable for them to expect any electoral 
privilege in relation to it. It was in no sense a 
trustee in regard to separate beneficiary interests, nor 
did it govern the profession or tax them. It could 
remove the name of a practitioner from the Register, 
but except in that case, the status of the registered 
practitioner was outside the jurisdiction of the Council, 
and was entirely uninterfered by it. The registration 
fee paid by the practitioner, an account of which was 
rendered to Parliament, showed the intention of the 
law, that the money was held by the Council on 
behalf of the public, and not on behalf of the profes- 
sion. Any claim which was made for a vote showed 
a false idea as to the nature of the responsibilities of 
the Council. 

Turner also objected to the mode of election by 
direct vote, on the ground that it was not likely to 
secure the best possible selection of men. Few would 
})0ssess personal means of judging between the quali- 
fications of the different candidates. The men chosen 
by the Crown and by the medical authorities were 
selected because they had the qualifications that were 
required, but in universal suffrage it would be but a 


haphazard choice. If a few well-known men were 
competing against comparatively unknown men, their 
eminence would tend to their election, but they would 
not necessarily be the most fitted. Associations and 
irresponsible agencies might push candidates, and 
many good men might dislike to associate themselves 
with such influences. Moreover, the Council as 
already constituted had never failed to have general 
practitioners as members. If any change were to be 
made in the Council, it should be in the direction of 
curtailing the number of representatives. 

The Medical Act of 1886 reconstituted the Council 
so that its membership was increased to thirty. Five 
direct representatives of the profession were added, 
three from England and one from Scotland and 
Ireland respectively, while each of the Scottish Uni- 
versities was given a representative. The Crown 
nominees were reduced from six to five. The presi- 
dent was no longer to vacate his seat as an ordinary 
member on his election to the chair. Any new 
University that was founded, or any body capable of 
granting a medical diploma in the future, which in 
the opinion of the Council was worthy of representa- 
tion, was to obtain a seat, while registered medical 
practitioners might also have an additional member 
in the future. Before such changes could be effected, 
the Privy Council was required to lay the sugges- 
tions before both Houses of Parliament. The Medical 
Council as constituted to-day has a membership of 

In 1883, Turner having completed ten years of 
service upon the Council, felt that it was incumbent 
upon him to retire in favour of a representative 
from Aberdeen University. Writing to Acland to 
announce his intention, he said — 

I was much pleased on Sunday to hear the old Museum in 
Christ Church referred to from the pulpit, in terms which 


showed that the preacher, when an undergraduate at Oxford, 
had realised the object you had in view in developing, now 
so many years ago, and in collecting material for the study 
of organic structure and life, so as to place within the range 
of Oxford studies material for acquiring a knowledge of the 
physical side of nature and man, in addition to the oppor- 
tunities for mental and moral culture, with which she had 
so long been abundantly provided. 

As to my reappointment to the Medical Council, that can- 
not be entertained at the present time. The University of 
Edinburgh is bound in honour to give Aberdeen her turn 
in the joint representation. I have held the appointment for 
ten years, and I feel that I should not be acting fairly to our 
sister University if I were to press for re-election. My re- 
tirement from the Council will not, however, diminish my 
interest in its work. I value very much the privilege which 
I have enjoyed of taking a part in the public life of my pro- 
fession, and in forming an acquaintance, and in many cases a 
friendship, with so many men of eminence in it. 

Let me further say that nothing do I value more than the 
personal communion I have had with yourself. 

In 1886, after an interval of three years, Turner 
was returned to the reconstituted Council as the 
representative of the University of Edinburgh, re- 
taining his membership for a continuous period of 
nineteen years. When the Council met in February 
1887, under the new conditions enforced by the 
Medical Act of 1886, the vexed question of the 
method of licensing the medical practitioner had been 
settled, and so the ground was cleared for the dis- 
cussion of other important matters. The Medical 
Council was given no new coercive powers ; it could, 
as before, only report to the Privy Council, if defects 
were discovered in the educational and examining 
methods of the licensing bodies. But the extent of 
the qualifying examinations became enlarged and 
better defined, and the scope and method of the 
system of inspection were now placed upon a wider 


Direct representation had been established with 
the object of ensuring that the profession would 
have a fuller and more complete confidence in the 
Council. The five members elected by the votes of 
their professional brethren took their seats for the 
first time, Scotland being represented by Dr William 
Bruce of Dingwall, a graduate of Aberdeen, who re- 
tained his seat for twenty years. 

Turner found that some of his former colleagues 
had gone, while others remained to welcome his 
return amongst them. Sir Henry Acland still oc- 
cupied the Presidential Chair, but his resignation 
was accepted in the month of May, and Mr John 
Marshall was elected the sixth President. Although 
a surgeon by profession, Marshall had been an 
anatomist in his earlier days. A man of wide 
interests, he was thoroughly conversant with the 
needs of professional education, and as Chairman of 
the Council, he was at pains to subordinate the in- 
terests of the College of Surgeons which he repre- 
sented, for the sake of what was best for the 
profession as a whole. In addition to Acland, two 
other members of the original Council of 1858 still 
retained their seats. Dr Aquila Smith was one of 
the Irish representatives who resigned in 1889, after 
thirty - one years of service, during which he had 
never missed an attendance at the general meetings, 
while his absence from one of the Executive meetings 
was due to a severe snowstorm which interfered with 
his journey from Ireland. Thomas Pridgin Teale be- 
came the Father of the House, serving continuously 
from 1858 to 1901, and sitting under eight succes- 
sive Presidents. 

Amongst Turner's new colleagues were John 
Struthers of Aberdeen, and J. Bell Pettigrew of St 
Andrews University. The association of the three 
men in 1887 revives memories of 1867, when they 
competed^ for the Chair of Anatomy in Edinburgh. 
They again found a common interest in the business 


of the Council Chamber. It is not unworthy of note 
to find how frequently the trained anatomist has been 
selected by the governing body of the Universities to 
represent them upon the Medical Council. Turner, as 
we have elsewhere pointed out, had a firm belief in 
the value of a sound anatomical training, combined 
with experience in teaching the subject of anatomy, 
as one of the best preparations for a business career ; 
and proof of the truth of this statement is furnished 
by the large number of trained anatomists who have 
found seats on the Council — Turner, Struthers, and 
Pettigrew ; Acland, Rolleston, and Arthur Thomson 
of Oxford ; George Murray Humphry of Cambridge ; 
Allen Thomson of Glasgow ; Alfred H. Young and 
Elliot Smith of Manchester ; John Yule Mackay of 
Dundee ; Sir Bertram Windle, formerly of Birming- 
ham ; Johnson Symington of Belfast ; David Hepburn 
of Cardiff; Francis Dixon of Dublin; and Robert 
Howden of Durham. Three of the Council's Presi- 
dents — Acland, Marshall, and Turner — could lay claim 
to the same valuable training, though, in the case of 
the two former, the teaching of anatomy had not 
constituted their life's work. 

Old friendships were strengthened and fresh friend- 
ships were formed at this period. Turner found James 
Matthews Duncan, now actively engaged in profes- 
sional work in London, as one of his colleagues, 
while two of his former pupils in the dissecting- 
rooms in Edinburgh in the days of Goodsir — Sir 
Dyce Duckworth and Sir William Mitchell Banks — 
were participating in the Council's work. Sir John 
Batty Tuke became a member in 1887, and it was 
then that Turner, Tuke, and Heron Watson cemented 
their friendship, and for many years travelled to and 
from London together on the Council's business. 

Some new friendships were made. With Sir 
William S. Church, Baronet, on the staff of St 
Bartholomew's Hospital, and a President of the 
Royal College of Physicians of London, whose grace- 


ful memorial tribute to Turner/ so ably expresses 
his appreciation of his life and work, he became 
intimately acquainted. " I first made Turner's ac- 
quaintance in Oxford in 1860," writes Church, "and 
I used to meet him occasionally in London, chiefly in 
the house of Sir Thomas Smith ; but it was during 
the ten years that I was a member of the Medical 
Council that I got to know him really well, and 
from that time I may say our friendship began." In 
the society of the Rev. Samuel Haughton, M.D., 
Fellow of Trinity College, Dublin, the versatile Irish- 
man, whose professional career embraced mathematics, 
geology, the affairs of the Church, and medicine, 
Turner enjoyed much pleasant intercourse ; and for 
his compatriot, Sir Richard Quain, Baronet, brimful 
of geniality and good nature, and with a fund of 
humorous anecdote, related in a rich Irish brogue, 
he preserved a warm and affectionate regard. 

Robert Brudenell Carter entered the Council as 
representative of the Society of Apothecaries of 
London. A man of perfect temper, genial and 
courteous, he won the regard and retained the affec- 
tion of a large circle of friends. In the Council's 
debates, his views were expressed with a clearness 
and precision which secured for him the attention 
and the approval of his colleagues. He was re- 
sponsible for introducing a useful measure in the 
method of dealing with registered practitioners, found 
guilty of some comparatively trivial offence, towards 
which the Council, by its regulations, had no choice, 
save to condone the act, or to order the extreme 
penalty of erasure from the Register. By adopting 
the expediency of postponing the Council's decision 
in such a case until its next session, an interval of 
probation was granted to the offender, and the simple 
admonition, thus administered, proved a sufficiently 
salutary lesson in many cases of slight misconduct. 

In 1892, Sir David Caldwell M'Vail succeeded Sir 

^ St Bartholomew's Hospital Keports, 1917. 


George Macleod as Crown representative for Scotland. 
An acknowledged leader of the profession in Glasgow, 
David M'Vail was responsible, in his position as a 
member of the University Court, for many of the 
important reforms which led to the improvement of 
medical education in the Scottish Universities under 
the Act of 1889. As an effective speaker, and as 
one who never took up any subject without first 
masterinor the details and all the circumstances bear- 
ing upon it, he was a force to be reckoned with in the 
affairs of the Council. A man of marked individuaHty 
of character, and with the courage of his convictions, 
he rarely erred in his judgment, and served the Council 
for twenty years as a vigorous and useful member. 

In James Little, the Kegius Professor of Medicine 
in Dublin, the Council numbered amongst its members 
one who endeared himself to all his colleagues. As the 
doyen of the medical profession in Ireland at the time of 
his death in December 1916, Little, who was an Ulster 
man by birth, happily blended a rich vein of southern 
geniality with all the shrewdness of the north. He 
was a leading spirit in all social functions, and an 
active participant in the proceedings of the Council. 

It is beyond the scope of this brief sketch to give 
any detailed account of the work undertaken by the 
Medical Council during the last nineteen years of 
Turner's membership. He served upon a number of 
Committees, both statutory and special, and he 
became chairman of the Business, Examination, and 
Dental Committees, obtaining his seat upon the 
Executive in 1887. He took a leading part in the 
Council's deliberations upon the English Bill for the 
Compulsory Registration of Midwives, a piece of 
legislation which came into operation in 1902, and 
which was subsequently followed by an Act for 
Scotland. He insisted upon a greater stringency 
in the conditions under wliich midwives should be 
permitted to register, otherwise the profession would be 
flooded with a number of ill-educated persons. He con- 


sidered that it was just as important that the women 
should produce a certificate of character and compe- 
tency as show proof of* their occupation as midwives. 

The question of the establishment of medical reci- 
procity between the United Kingdom on the one 
hand, and the British overseas possessions and 
foreign countries on the other — a subject which 
received the attention of the Council for a number 
of years — was one in which Turner was specially 
interested, and for the attainment of which he was 
constantly working. When, in 1901, the privilege 
of registration upon the British Register was granted 
to graduates of the Italian Universities, the event 
gave him the greatest satisfaction. Reciprocity has 
now been arranged, under the regulations of the 
Medical Act, 1886, with all parts of the overseas 
dominions, with the exception of British Columbia ; 
a large number of qualified practitioners, holding the 
degrees of the several Universities in distant parts of 
the Empire, are now enrolled upon the British Register, 
and are practising their profession either permanently 
or temporarily in this country. On the foreign list of 
the Register, Belgium, Italy, and Japan are represented, 
the majority of the names being those of Belgians 
holding degrees of the Universities of Brussels, Ghent, 
and Louvain. The establishment of medical recipro- 
city had thus made it possible for this country to meet 
some of the exigencies which have arisen during the 
Great War. 

In 1897, Sir Richard Quain, who had become Presi- 
dent on the death of Mr John Marshall in 1891, was 
seriously ill and unable to attend the autumn session 
of the Council. In accordance with his desire. Turner, 
who was then Chairman of the Business Committee, 
was elected to discharge his duties on that occasion. 
He evidently realised the prospective difficulties of 
his position, as we find him writing to Cunningham 
shortly before the opening of the session : — 


I was not unprepared to hear of Dr Haughton's illness 
and death. I am glad that I saw him last summer, so bright 
and relatively well ; my last recollections of him will always 
be pleasant and reminiscent of his geniality and heartiness. 

I have a somewhat anxious and responsible duty before 
me. Owing to Sir Richard Quain's illness I shall have to 
take charge of the business of the Medical Council, which, 
with so many contending elements on it, and in it, will not 
be an easy task. However, with patience and tact I hope 
that I may preserve the peace. 

On the death of Quain in the early months of 1898, 
there was no doubt in the minds of the members of 
the Council as to Turner's claims and fitness for the 
office of President, and he was unanimously elected 
on April 5, 1898. For the first time in the history 
of the Council, the honour' had been bestowed upon 
one who lived north of the Tweed. Some doubt had 
been expressed as to whether it was possible for the 
chief executive officer to attend to the many duties 
which devolved upon him between the sessions of the 
Council, when residing so far from the centre of busi- 
ness. But Turner overcame the difficulties, and per- 
sonally attended to his administrative duties, partly 
by correspondence and partly by frequent visits to 
London. In this way he overtook a great deal of 
preliminary work, and thus was successful in reducing 
the period of the Council's sessions. His orderly 
methods, and his aptitude for grasping a point 
quickly and coming to a rapid decision, proved 
invaluable to him in his new position, and greatly 
assisted the progress of business. "He had a forward 
policy, in regard both to education and discipline, and 
his action usually carried the Council onward in the 
direction which events showed was the right one. 
His task at first was not an easy one, and his firm 
grip of procedure was not wholly welcome to some, 
who liked to be a law unto themselves, but respect 
for his judgment steadily increased, even among the 
more eager juniors. The Council's finance reports had 
showed year by year a growing deficit, which was 


giving rise to fears of insolvency, but during his 
Presidency most of these difficulties faded away." ^ 
Turner's addresses from the Chair at the opening of 
each session were brief, but they were characterised 
by the clearness and completeness with which he 
recounted the work which he had overtaken in the 
interval, and they stated the chief points in the busi- 
ness which lay before the Meeting. 

In his address on November 22, 1904, Turner an- 
nounced his intention to retire from the Presidency. 
He regarded the occasion as a fitting one in which 
to present the Council with a mace, ''emblematic of 
ceremonial dignity and authority." " I am desirous," 
he said, " of giving to this Emblem objective form, 
and I ask to be allowed to offer for the acceptance 
of the Council an example which, in its design, ex- 
presses our identification with the great profession 
of medicine, and our place as the administrative body 
representative of the three divisions of the United 
Kingdom." Continuing, he said — 

Upon December 3, 1901, you re-elected me President for 
a further period of five years, provided that I remained a 
member of Council. Although my appointment as represent- 
ative of the University of Edinburgh does not expire until 
December 1906, I have formed the opinion, after giving the 
subject mature consideration, that the time has come when 
it is advisable that I should retire from the Presidentship. 
I have to bear in mind that my duties in Edinburgh, as Prin- 
cipal of the University, are of an onerous and absorbing 
nature, and have the first call on my time and energy. 

Through your favour and confidence, gentlemen, for 
which I cannot too strongly express my grateful acknow- 
ledgment, I have occupied the Chair during six years ; but 
for some months past I have become conscious of the fact 
that, having entered upon the stage of life which entitles me 
to be called a septuagenarian, the vital mechanism cannot 
be driven at the speed, and with the continuity of effort, 
which was both possible and pleasurable a few years ago. 

* Sir Donald Macalister, Student Memorial Number, 1916. 


The business of the Council is ever on the increase, and from 
the strain to which I am subjected when the Council is 
sitting, and the bulky correspondence to be attended to 
during the interval between sessions, I have come to the 
conclusion that I ought no longer to retain the Presidential 
Chair, as I feel that I should not be able to discharge effi- 
ciently the duties of the responsible office to the satisfaction 
either of myself or my colleagues. I have to request you, 
therefore, to arrange for the appointment of my successor 
before the Council rises at the end of the present session. 

His resignation was accepted, but at the request of 
Sir Donald Macalister, his successor in office, Turner 
remained for another year as a Member of the Council, 
which continued to receive the benefit of his advice 
and experience until his final retirement on October 
21, 1905. At a farewell banquet given to him in 
London, which was attended by past and present 
members, and by representatives of the departments 
of the Government with which the Council was more 
immediately associated in its work, he had ample 
proof that he was leaving not only his colleagues in 
work, but men with whom he had formed a whole- 
hearted friendship. 

When addressing the members of the Koyal Medi- 
cal Society of Edinburgh in February 1909, Sir Donald 
Macalister thus spoke of his friend : — 

You awarded your diploma to Sir Benjamin Collins 
Brodie, and thirty-six years afterwards he became President 
of the General Medical Council. In 1868, you chose William 
Turner for the same distinction, and thirty years later he was 
called by acclamation to occupy the same Chair. Of the two 
gifts to the Council, the better and the greater was the latter, 
for the Council never had an abler, a wiser, or a more just 
President. At its Jubilee last November, it ottered him its 
tribute of gratitude and aftectionate regard. To-night you 
will not think it inoppoi'tune that I cordially recall that 
tribute, and add my own personal expression of admiration 
and esteem for a Chief, who is also yours. He made the 
place he vacated harder to till indeed ; but he also made it 
more honourable by his tenure, and therefore more worthy 
of the best efforts of his successors to follow his example. 





Commission of Inquiry of 1876 — Huxley and Turner — Lord 
Kinnear's Commission of 1889 — Changes in the University 
Court — Patronage of University Chairs — The Payment of 
Professors' Salaries — Autonomy of the Scottish and English 
Universities — Parliamentary Control — The Students' Repre- 
sentative Council. 

During the greater part of the period dealt with in 
Chapter xi., when the attention of the general body 
of the profession was directed to the subject of medical 
reform, questions relating to changes and improve- 
ments in the internal administration and financial 
resources of the Scottish Universities were frequently 
under consideration. Various causes made it incum- 
bent upon the University authorities to revise their 
position, and endeavour to obtain an enlargement of 
the powers which had been granted to them under 
the Universities Act of 1858. The steady increase in 
the number of students ; a desire upon the part of the 
graduates to take a larger share in the conduct of 
University affairs; additions to the teaching staff; 
the growing demands of education and the rapid pro- 
gress in science ; and, in Edinburgh in particular, the 
expansion in the material resources of the University, 


associated with the erection of the buildings of the 
New Medical School, made it necessary to appeal to 
legislation to alter the constitution of the governing 
bodies in the Universities, so as to surmount the 
difficulties which were arising. 

It is true that the Commissioners, appointed under 
the Act of 1858, foresaw that, from time to time, 
changes would arise which would make modifications 
in the Ordinances necessary, and they had provided 
the machinery by which to carry this into effect, 
without submitting new Ordinances to Parliament 
before they could become law. Nevertheless, addi- 
tional powers became necessary, and the Government 
were urged to pass an Act which would increase the 
administrative authority of the University Courts. 
Several Bills were prepared, but for many years no 
result was reached; finally, the Bill of 1889 was in- 
troduced by Mr J. P. B. Robertson (afterwards Lord 
Robertson), the Lord Advocate in the Salisbury ad- 
ministration, and was passed by both Houses of 

The important changes which had been effected in 
the constitution of the Scottish Universities in 1858, 
which made the Act of that year a landmark in their 
history, have already been referred to in our descrip- 
tion of Turner's early days in Edinburgh, when he was 
not in a position to take any active part in contribut- 
ing to their realisation. The transference of the 
government of the University from the hands of the 
Town Council to those of the Senatus Academicus, the 
formation of the General Council and the University 
Court, and the establishment of the Board of Curators 
of Patronage, were the outstanding features of her 
"Magna Charta" in that year, while two officials, 
the Chancellor and the Rector, were elected under 
the Act. When Disraeli's Government, however, 
in 1876, as a preliminary to prospective legislation, 
determined upon a fresh inquiry into the conditions 
of the Universities in Scotland, and appointed a Com- 


mission for that purpose, Turner was able to give 
evidence, and to express his views not only upon 
matters concerning administration, but upon many 
questions concerning improvements in education. The 
Commission sat under the Chairmanship of the Right 
Honourable John Inglis, the Lord Justice-General and 
the Chancellor of the University. No man was more 
fitted to preside over such an inquiry. As Chairman 
of the Commissioners under the Scottish Universities 
Act of 1858, he had been largely responsible for the 
excellence of the work accomplished, and he was 
thoroughly conversant with the whole of the adminis- 
trative and educational machinery of the Universities ; 
" through his patience, foresight, and sagacity in 
framing the Ordinances, he had placed himself in the 
highest rank amongst the benefactors of education in 
Scotland. "1 

It is not without interest to observe that Huxley 
was made a member of the Commission of 1876. 
During the summer of that year he delivered his 
second course of lectures upon Natural History in 
the University of Edinburgh, in place of Wyville 
Thomson, who was still absent, engaged upon the 
scientific work of the expedition of H.M.S. Challenger. 
Huxley was, at the same time, Lord Rector of Aberdeen 
University, so that he was conversant with some, at 
any rate, of the aspects of Scottish University educa- 
tion. His ideal of a modern University was somewhat 
similar to that of J. S. Mill, and it diftered very con- 
siderably from the standard type as recognised to-day, 
with its materialistic aim at making higher education 
mainly a practical and scientific training for the pro- 
fessional and commercial businesses of life. " My own 
ideal," he wrote in 1892,- "is for the present, at any 
rate, hopelessly impracticable. The university or uni- 
versities should be teaching bodies devoted to Art 
(literary and other), history, philosophy, and science, 

1 Turner, Graduation Address, 1888. 

2 ' Life and Letters of T. H. Huxley,' vol. iii., 1913. 


where any one who wanted to learn all that is known 
about these matters should find people who could 
teach him and put him in the way of learning for 
himself It will be a place for men to get knowledge, 
and not for boys and adolescents to get degrees. That 
is what the world will want one day or other, as a 
supplement to all manner of high schools and technical 
institutions in which young people get decently edu- 
cated and learn to earn their bread — such are our 
present universities." But he did not allow his own 
views to interfere with his duties as a Commissioner, 
and he applied himself to the work of improving the 
existing conditions. 

Huxley and Turner, as we have seen, had been 
members of the Medical Acts Commission of 1881. 
Working as they did along similar lines of scientific 
inquiry, both men appeared to possess the mental 
qualities which fitted them for undertaking work of 
an administrative character, and consequently frequent 
demands were made upon their time and energies. 
Both were endowed with a practical bent of mind, 
and, with a readiness to perceive the point at issue, 
they were capable of formulating a working scheme 
in order to give it effect. 

Though the Report which was published by the 
Inglis Commission in 1878 was not immediately acted 
upon by the Government, the information which it 
contained was largely utilised in the framing of the 
new Ordinances under the Universities (Scotland) Act 
of 1889. These Ordinances were drawn up by Lord 
Kinnear's Commission, which was responsil)le for many 
of the improvements which were carried through. 
Amongst his coadjutors were Lord Kyllachy and Mr 
Donald Crawford, while Professor S. H. Butcher 
and Sir Patrick Heron Watson dev-oted no small 
amount of their time to the interests of their Uni- 
versity. Important alterations were effected in the 
constitution and function of the governing bodies 
within the University, and improvements were made 


in its educational system. More than a passing re- 
ference to these changes is necessary if we are to 
understand properly the developments which have 
taken place during Turner's professional life, and the 
part which he himself took in promoting them. 

The Edinburgh University Court, which had been 
established in 1858, received a very considerable ex- 
tension of its powers in 1889. It became, indeed, the 
chief governing body in University affairs, though the 
Act constituted, at the same time, a Universities' Com- 
mittee of the Privy Council, which was the supreme 
tribunal. The Court, in addition to the powers which 
had previously been conferred upon it, was now called 
upon to administer and manage the whole revenue and 
property of the University ; to appoint professors, 
whose Chairs might come to be in the patronage of 
the University, lecturers, assistants, and examiners. 
The powers of the Senatus, which had hitherto ad- 
ministered the property and revenue, subject to the 
control of the Court, were now mainly confined to 
regulating and superintending the teaching and dis- 
cipline of the University. 

In view of the increased jurisdiction of the Court, 
the question of enlarging its constitution and the 
sources from which the additional members were to 
be obtained were made a subject of inquiry. Origin- 
ally consisting of seven persons, it represented in its 
membership in Edinburgh four important bodies — the 
General Council or the graduates, the Senatus Aca- 
demicus, the Town Council, and the general body of 
the students. If an increase in its membership were 
considered desirable — and opinion on the whole was 
in favour of this — it appeared reasonable that the 
General Council and the Senatus should provide the 
additional members. A strong desire had been ex- 
})ressed by members of the General Council not only 
for increased representation upon the Court, but for 
some executive power in the conduct of University 
business. The duties of the Council, in addition to 


the election of the Chancellor, were to take into con- 
sideration all questions affecting the wellbeing and 
prosperity of the University, and to make represen- 
tation to the Court on such matters. The general 
consensus of opinion in the Commission of 1876 was 
against the placing of increased powers in the hands 
of the Council. Its constitution was not such as to 
admit of its being advantageously, or even safely, 
entrusted with executive functions. Turner, in his 
evidence on this point, argued that as it was a body 
consisting of many thousands of individuals, living at 
great distances, some of them indeed abroad, and 
having little or no connection with the University, 
and without practical knowledge of University affairs, 
it could not be given executive authority. A com- 
paratively small section of the Council residing in 
Edinburgh might thus exercise a control which the 
majority of the Council would disapprove of Ad- 
ditional representation, on the other hand, would 
increase their interest in the University and would 
add to the influence of the Court, Under the new 
Act no executive function was given, but the Council 
was furnished with powers to elect four, instead of 
one, representative upon the Court. The representa- 
tion of the Senatus upon the Court was also increased 
from one to four. The Civic element, which had been 
a feature of the Edinburgh Court, was not interfered 
with, and it remained as evidence of the historical 
association between the Town and its College. The 
Act of 1889, indeed, demonstrated the importance 
which was attached to a combination of town and 
gown, by placing, for the first time, upon the Courts of 
the Universities of St Andrews, Glasgow, and Aber- 
deen, two members of the Civic body In each of these 
cities, the Lord Provost and an assessor elected by 
the Town Council. The remodelled Court with its 
increased powers thus came to be a governing body 
consisting of fourteen members, and, in the event of 
the affiliation of Colleges with the University, addi- 


tional members, not exceeding four, were to be added 
as representatives of these Colleges. Turner was 
elected by the Senatus, along with his colleagues 
Professor Crum Brown and the Rev. Professor 
Malcolm Taylor, when the Court was reconstituted in 
1889,^ and he continued to sit as a member of that 
body for twenty -seven years, as an ordinary member 
for fourteen years, and for the remaining period of the 
time as Principal. On the retirement of Mr John 
Christison, Sir Robert's third son, Taylor became 
secretary of the Court, and only resigned his post on 
account of his health, five months before Turner's 
death. The two friends worked loyally together 
throughout the whole of their official life, and though 
their views upon matters of policy were not always 
identical, they freely discussed the many points at 
issue and were mutually benefited by doing so. 

While the Act of 1889 thus introduced important 
changes in the constitution and function of the Uni- 
versity Courts, and increased the representation and 
influence of the General Council and Senatus upon 
them, no alteration was eflected in the Curatorial 
Court of Patronage in Edinburgh, a body which had 
no analogy in the other Scottish Universities. The 
Court of Curators had come into existence in 1858, 
when the Town Council of Edinburgh had been de- 
prived of its ancient right of University patronage. 
The power of nominating the Principal and Professors, 
which the Municipal Corporation had up to that time 
enjoyed, was transferred to seven Curators, three of 
whom were elected by the Court, and four by the 
Town Council, so that the latter continued, in a some- 
what modified form, to exercise its old historical 
privilege. In the other Scottish Universities, in which 
no similar association had previously existed between 
City and University, and where the Professors had 

1 Professor Campbell Fraser, who was already a member of the Court, 
was the fourth representative. 


hitherto been appointed by the Senatus, the Court 
was made the electing body in 1889. A certain 
amount of confusion appears to exist in the minds of 
many persons regarding the mode of election of Pro- 
fessors, the uncertainty being doubtless due to the 
fact that the several appointments are in the hands of 
more than one electing body. In Edinburgh the 
patronage of the various Chairs is administered by the 
Curators, the Crown, and the University Court.^ In 
the Medical Faculty the majority of the Chairs, nine 
in number, rest in the hands of the Curators of 
Patronage, who are the present-day representatives of 
the Town Council, the original patrons of these. Chairs. 
The history of the foundation of the Regius Professor- 
ship of Clinical Surgery, the Chair of Syme, Lister, 
and Annandale, illustrates how the Crown came to 
participate in the election of University Professors. 
In 1802, the Town Council was petitioned to add 
clinical instruction in Surgery to the teaching in the 
medical curriculum. Steps were accordingly taken to 
obtain from the Crown an endowment for a Chair, 
and in 1803, a Commission was received from George 
III. creating the Chair of Clinical Surgery, with an 
endowment of £50 per annum, and appointing Mr 
James Russel as the first Professor. In a similar way, 
the Regius Chair of Forensic Medicine was founded in 
1807. The Chair of Botany is the third, and, indeed, 
the oldest of the Regius Chairs in the Faculty of 
Medicine ; but, unlike the other two, it was originally 
in the patronage of the Town Council, the Professor 
being at first responsible for the teaching both of 
Botany and Materia Medica. In 1768, however, John 
Hope, who had been appointed "King's Botanist" for 
Scotland, obtained a Commission as Regius Professor 
of Botany, and resigned his Professorship of Materia 

1 In the Faculty of Law, the Society of Writers to the Signet, the 
Faculty of Advocates, and the Merchant Company exercise a certain 
limited amount of patronage; in the Faculty of Arts, the Lords of 
Session, the Faculty of Advocates, and the Society of Writers to the 
Signet exercise patronage when the Chair of Humanity is vacant. 


Medica, the latter becoming a separate Chair in the 
patronage of the Town Council. The appointment of 
Professors by the University Court is of comparatively 
recent origin, and dates from the Act of 1889, because 
the power of receiving and administering the funds 
necessary for their endowment was then placed in the 
hands of that body. Four new Chairs in the Medical 
Faculty came into the patronage of the Court while 
Turner was one of its members. 

The exercise of patronage with the single view of 
filling the vacancy by the election of the best qualified 
person that can be procured, is not an easy task, and 
the question as to the most suitable persons for appoint- 
ing professors has been a subject of controversy at 
different times. The Commissioners, who carefully 
considered the subject, suggested that a detailed and 
reasoned report upon the qualifications of candidates 
should be drawn up and submitted to patrons, includ- 
ing Her Majesty — and they even went so far as to 
draft an ordinance alonof these lines, which was sent 
to each University body which exercised patronage, 
but all of them objected to such a method of selection. 
The Commissioners finally came to the conclusion that 
any provisions which might be framed would be either 
useless or embarrassing, or else would tend so far to 
diminish the responsibility of existing patrons, as to 
amount to a practical transference of the right of 
patronage to those whose duty it would be to frame 
the reasoned Report. John Inglis, in his inaugural 
address as Chancellor of the University in 1869, thus 
defined the three great qualifications which he re- 
garded as necessary for such an office — honesty, firm- 
ness, and the capacity of making a discriminating 
choice. " It will be found that the men who possess 
these gifts, and who know best how indispensable is 
their use in the administration of such a trust, are, 
generally speaking, the most apt to shrink from under- 
taking its duties. It is no easy task, at least for most 
men, sternly to disregard the claims of kindred, the 


appeals of friendship, the pressure of influence ; to 
cast aside political and politico-religious prejudices 
and sympathies ; to wade, it may be, through a morass 
of faithless and verbiose testimonials in the almost 
vain hope of gathering a few modest blossoms of 
truth ; to extract all other available and trustworthy 
materials for forming a sound judgment, and then to 
address oneself to the task of selection. Yet such are 
the qualities, and such the amount of honest labour 
indispensable to the right administration of Uni- 
versity patronage." Inglis held the opinion that 
there were cogent reasons against placing such powers 
in the hands of the Crown, or, in other words, the 
Government of the day. However carefully the 
Minister might consider his choice independently of 
political feelings, he probably had neither the time 
nor the opportunity to master his subject, and there- 
fore he sought the advice of some one upon whom he 
could rely, thus delegating his judgment to another. 
Turner, like Christison before him, was frequently 
consulted in matters of this kind, and his opinion 
was valued and his advice repeatedly acted upon. 
The consideration of such matters always imposed 
upon him much earnest reflection, but when he had 
made up his mind as to the applicant who would best 
serve the interests of the University, he resolutely 
supported the candidate of his choice. " I have no 
doubt that you were right, absolutely right on the 
merits of the case," wrote one of his colleagues on the 
Board of Curators on the occasion of a professorial 
election. "What you said had that ring of convic- 
tion which it was impossible to resist. It was because 
you thought so, that I was convinced. It is not at 
every battle that you can trot out your big battalions, 
but you did it with effect this time, and nothing less 

w^ould have won the vote of Mr ." 

In connection with the constitution of the Court of 
Curators, Turner favoured the retention of the Civic 
element, because he felt that its historic interest 


should be respected. But he suggested such a modi- 
fication of the Court, that neither the civic nor the 
academic party should have a majority, and that a 
third element, preferably the Crown, might be intro- 
duced. The Crown would in this way cede its 
patronage to the Curatorial Court, on the condition, 
however, that it appointed a certain proportion of 
that body. There would thus be established one 
source of patronage, representing the Crown, the 
Town, and the University in such a relation that no 
party held a majority. In the event of an equal 
division of opinion in any election, a casting vote 
should be given to some one. An arrangement of 
this kind would undoubtedly bring the Crown element 
into closer touch with the local atmosphere, and would 
tend to eliminate those defects in the Crown patronage 
to which the Chancellor referred in his address. 

In 1889, a radical change was introduced into the 
system by which the professors obtained their emolu- 
ments. Hitherto each professor had collected his class 
fees from his students, and he derived in this way the 
main portion of his salary, which naturally varied 
somewhat, from year to year, according to the size of 
his class. Under such a system the lecturer un- 
doubtedly had a strong incentive to exertion, as his 
income was dependent, to some extent at any rate, 
upon his success as a teacher. Many objections, how- 
ever, had been brought against the continuance of the 
method, and these were still further intensified by 
the alterations which the Commissioners proposed to 
introduce into the various curricula. So long as only 
certain defined subjects were compulsory for the pass 
degree in Arts, the old method of collecting the fees 
placed all the professors upon an equal basis of re- 
muneration, though the salaries received varied very 
considerably in amount. But with the introduction 
of optional subjects in the Arts course, a competition 
for students, stimulated by an interest in fees, might 


arise, which would not be salutary, as there would be 
a temptation to lower the standard of teaching in 
order to increase the numbers in the class ; moreover, 
such a system was not applicable to Honours Classes, 
as the more advanced the subject, the smaller would 
be the class. Finally, the continuation of the fee 
system would militate against the proposed introduc- 
tion of special lectureships, competing with the interests 
of the professors, in whose departments the special sub- 
jects would lie, and which would withdraw a certain 
number of students from the professorial classes. 

The Commissioners, therefore, determined to abandon 
the old fee system, save in the Faculty of Theology, to 
regard all fees as earned by the University, and to 
pay the emoluments of the professors out of the 
General Fee Fund. The salaries under the new 
arrangement of payment were not so large as those 
previously obtained, but a minimum salary was assured 
to each professor by a charge upon the general revenue 
of the University. A proviso was introduced to the 
effect that the normal remuneration which had been 
assigned to each should, as a rule, suffer a proportional 
abatement in any year in which the aggregate amount 
of the fees was insufficient to meet the total claims 
upon the Fee Fund. 

Turner regarded as somewhat unjust a system which 
remunerated one man from the work which was done 
by another, and he felt further that the de})reciation 
in salaries which was a consequence of the new arrange- 
ment might prove detrimental to the best interests of 
the University by rendering her Chairs a less attrac- 
tive goal of ambition than they had been in the past. 
He was conscious, too, that so long as human nature 
remained the same, there was always the risk of some 
relaxation of effort upon the part of the individual, 
when he was assured of a definite reward for his 
labours, and that no increase in it was possible. 

The preservation of the autonomy of the Scottish 


Universities, so that each might be left in a position 
to ret^ulate its own educational system, and adjust 
its administrative machinery to suit the individual 
requirements, was a question upon which Turner 
held decided views. The subject involved not only 
the question of a closer federation of the Universities 
in Scotland, but the more far-reaching problem of 
State control. The Universities Acts of 1858 and 
1889 foreshadowed legislative changes which, had 
they come into force, would undoubtedly have cur- 
tailed the freedom of action which he supported. 
In 1858, the Commissioners had been directed to 
inquire into the practicability of establishing a 
National University in Scotland, with which the 
four existing Universities would become federated 
as colleges, each of them having due representation 
upon its governing body. Such an arrangement 
would have meant the surrender of the powers of 
examining and granting degrees which each Univer- 
sity had previously held, and it would have led to 
a uniformity in educational methods, with a loss of 
the healthy rivalry which stimulates individual pro- 
gress. " Fortunately this proposal never became 
operative, but it was obviously in the mind of the 
Legislature that the time had come for the Uni- 
versities in Scotland to lose their autonomy, and 
that their educational and degree-conferring functions 
should be framed on the same pattern." ^ The Act 
of 1889 suggested the formation of a General Court 
of the four Universities, which should review their 
common interests, especially in regard to degrees and 
examinations, and which should report to the Privy 
Council on all new Ordinances, or proposed changes 
in existing Ordinances. Although the Commissioners 
drafted an Ordinance in order to carry this into eflfect, 
it was subsequently withdrawn. " Such a Court," 
Turner wrote, " might with advantage become part 
of the University system in Scotland if it were to 

^ Graduation Address, 1903. 


take the place of the reference to Parliament when 
new Ordinances were proposed ; but to refer these to 
such a General Court as well as to Parliament, as 
now requires to be done, would only render more 
complicated the existing mode of procedure and entail 
even greater delay in effecting educational reform." 

The tendency of modern legislation has, indeed, been 
directed in an entirely'' opposite direction, and in the 
autonomy which has been extended to the younger 
Universities in England we see an adoption of that 
policy of giving greater educational freedom such as 
he advocated. The Victoria University in Man- 
chester, founded in 1880, had at first associated with 
it the Owens College, which had existed in that city 
for many years ; but, in course of time, the Yorkshire 
College in Leeds and University College, Liverpool, 
became federated to it. The authority given to the 
Victoria University to manage its own affairs was 
so complete, that in no instance were new statutes 
and regulations to be submitted to Parliament. The 
influence of the Privy Council was exercised, how- 
ever, by the Lord President having the power to 
appoint a proj)ortion of the members of the Univer- 
sity Court. But legislation in the twentieth century 
has gone even a step further in the cause of autonomy, 
and power has been granted for the breaking up of 
the federation of these colleges. The Owens College 
has become an independent Victoria University in 
Manchester, the College in Liverpool has obtained 
its own charter, and the Yorkshire College in Leeds 
has also become a University. The University of 
Birmingham has expanded out of the old Mason 
University College, and has been given full power 
within itself of constructing new Ordinances and of 
modifying them from time to time without reference 
to any outside authority. " I claim for the Univer- 
sities in Scotland that the power of making, alterinrr, 
and revoking Ordinances and regulations connected 
with the discharge of their degree-conferring functions 


should be vested in the authorities of each University, 
after communication with the sister Universities and 
reference to the Universities Committee of the Privy 
Council, and that they should not be subjected to 
a prolonged and complicated procedure such as has 
been imposed by the Act of 1889. Educational free- 
dom has been conferred on the younger Universities 
south of the Border, and it is difficult to understand 
why we in Scotland, with an educational history of 
v^hich we have no cause to be ashamed, should be bound 
in swaddling clothes and impeded in our progress." 

The possibility of the establishment of a close 
supervision of University education by a Government 
bureau did not appeal to him. "To place our Uni- 
versities and colleges under the control of a Govern- 
ment office would be an administrative arrangement 
which I, for one, have no desire to see initiated in 
this country. I believe that State control has a 
tendency to crystallise the educational institutions 
which it administers, to cramp their expansion, and 
to deprive them of that elasticity which is necessary 
in order that they may adapt themselves to the 
progress of science and learning. I think that all 
educational bodies are better administered by those 
who are themselves practically engaged in educational 
work, together with such an admixture of persons 
possessing public spirit, administrative capacity, and 
business habits as may be required for managing their 
funds, providing more money, more buildings, and 
more appliances when they are needed. Such a body 
is, I believe, much to be preferred to one consisting of 
officials in a Government office having no special 
knowledge of the subjects or methods of education 
or acquaintance with local requirements." ^ 

The Parliamentary control of Ordinances bearing 
upon expenditure, when grants are supplied by the 
State, stands upon a different footing, and it is 
reasonable and in accordance with general procedure 

^ Address on Medical Education, Birmingham, October 1st, 1890. 


that such should be subjected to review. For many 
years the Legislature bestowed very little financial 
assistance upon the Universities in Scotland, though 
small sums of money were from time to time handed 
over to them. Additional grants were made in 1858, 
and again in 1881) and at a later period, thus ren- 
dering State control more stringent than formerly. 
Turner applied on more than one occasion for assist- 
ance from the Treasury, and though thus tightening 
the bonds of control, his solicitude for the urgent 
requirements of the University appeared to him to 
justify his appeal. He considered, however, that it 
would be a national misfortune if the State were to 
be looked upon as the only source from which funds 
for instituting and carrying on developments in the 
branches of knowledge should be obtained. " The 
strength of our national character hinges largely on 
the exercise of individual and local efibrt, and to be 
continually calling on the State for support, discour- 
ages the habit of self-reliance and leads to a system 
of centralisation which is not conducive to public 
prosperity. If the locality is satisfied that the Uni- 
versity in its midst is employing the best endeavour 
to advance education, no further argument should be 
needed to elicit means which it may be necessary to 
provide in order to secure that end." To what extent 
private and public generosity have been the medium 
of advancing education and developing the scientific 
side of the Edinburgh school will become a})parent, 
as we sketch the changes consequent upon the work 
of Lord Kinnear's Commission. 

One further element in the constitution of the Uni- 
versity, which may justly be looked upon as coming 
within the scope of its administrative arrangements, 
was the statutory recognition, by the Act of 1889, of 
the Students' Representative Council. The Act gave 
authority for a definite organisation of this kind in 
each of the Scottish Universities, and it empowered 



the Commissioners to frame regulations for the con- 
stitution and functions of the Council. Although the 
privilege of electing a Lord Rector with a seat on the 
University Court had been in the hands of the under- 
graduates since 1858, the need of a more corporate 
existence, of a recognised medium of communication 
with the University authorities, and of an organisa- 
tion which would promote the social life and academic 
unity of the students, had long been felt necessary. 

The inception, in this direction, of the movement 
which had now received the sanction of the Legisla- 
ture, had taken place in Edinburgh in 1884, in the 
year of the great Tercentenary Festival. Her example 
has been followed by the other Scottish Universities 
and by the majority of the Universities in Britain. 
The original scheme was evolved by Mr R. Fitzroy 
Bell, who afterwards practised at the Scottish Bar ; 
associated with him in the first Presidential Trium- 
virate were David Orme Masson, now the occupant of 
the Chair of Chemistry in the University of Melbourne, 
and J. F. Sturrock, who practised for many years in 
Broughty Ferry. Through the labours of these men, 
of James Avon Clyde, Sims Woodhead, Charles W. 
Cathcart, and of many others who have followed in 
their footsteps, and through the never-failing assist- 
ance of Mr James Walker as the Lord Rector's 
Assessor upon the Court, in the later years of its 
history, the Representative Council, in spite of its 
difiSculties, has stood the test of time. It has more 
than justified the expectations of its founders : to its 
inspiration the Students' Union owes its origin. 
Through its agency also, have arisen the Inter- 
Universities' Conferences, which have broken down 
the old exclusiveness of the individual Universities, 
and have developed a wider sympathy between their 
undergraduates, and by founding the International 
Academic Committee, the Council has encouraged 
friendly intercourse between the Universities of dif- 
ferent countries, both in Europe and elsewhere. 



SITIES (Scotland) act, 1889. 

A Retrospect — Conditions before the passing of the Act — The Pre- 
liminary Examination in Medicine — The Primary Scientific 
Subjects — Changes in the Medical Curriculum — The Faculty of 
Science — The Introduction of the Lectureship System. 

It must be difficult for the University student of 
to-day to visualise all that his Alma Mater has 
accomplished in providing for the constantly growing 
needs of her sons and daughters, during the sixty 
years which have elapsed since the Scottish Univer- 
sities received their Magna Charta in 1858. If he 
should be of an historical bent of mind and desirous to 
inform himself of the scope of the work that was 
required of his predecessors in the learned faculties, 
and of the provision that was made for educating them 
at that period, he will possibly seek his information 
from the shelves of the University library, and select 
the first number of the Calendar, which bears the 
date of the session 1858-59. It is a small volume of 
one hundred and twenty pages. He will look in vain 
for any similar record prior to that year, because no 
official Calendar was published before the passing of 
the Act just referred to. If the student turns for a 
moment to the last number of the series, a mere glance 
will show him that it has grown to more than eight 
times the magnitude of the first. The difference be- 


tvveen the two books in size alone will furnish an object- 
lesson in itself, the significance of which will hardly 
be lost upon him, and he will begin to appreciate, even 
before he studies the pages, the enormous developments 
which have taken place in University education during 
little more than half a century. 

The conditions of medical education as they existed 
in England prior to 1858, have been lightly sketched 
in the narrative of Turner's student days in Lancaster 
and London. North of the Tweed, the Scottish Uni- 
versity system had exacted a higher standard of know- 
ledge and a more thorough test by examination, than 
that to which he had been subjected when he sat for 
his diploma of the College of Surgeons of England. 
The old method of examining viva voce, at the end of 
the student's period of study, had been discontinued in 
Edinburgh in 1832. Prior to that date the ordeal had 
been more of the nature of a " heart to heart talk " 
between pupil and examinei. The undergraduate 
appeared in evening dress at the private residence of 
one of his Professors, and took his seat at the table 
along with the rest of the Faculty. He then under- 
went an oral examination, which was conducted for 
the most part in the Latin tongue. Ample oppor- 
tunity was thus given for making a thorough and 
searching test of the candidate's knowledge, more so, 
indeed, than can be obtained by the briefer oral exam- 
ination of to-day, though it lacked in the more practical 
methods of the modern clinical inquiry. Sir Ptobert 
Christison relates how he met his examiners at the 
house of Dr Gregory, who plied him with questions for 
an hour, and then handed him over to his colleagues. 
" The subsequent acts of examination," he writes, 
" consisted of a written commentary on an aphorism 
of Hippocrates, a consultation on a case drawn up by a 
Professor, and the defence of a thesis. But as these 
exercises -were all written at home, they were actually 
often the composition of the candidate's grinder." In 
1833, however, English was substituted for the Latia 


tongue, and the examination, which became both 
written and oral, was conducted at the University in 
two stages, constituting a first and second professional. 
Doubtless, the comparatively short course of study, 
and the methods of examination, were quite sufficient 
to meet the demands which the state of scientific 
knowledge of the period required. Mediocrity and 
talent were produced then as now, and eacli carved 
their respective careers, and advanced our knowledge 
in both the small and the great things of science and 
learning. The student of to-day may possibly regret 
that it had not been his good fortune to live in those 
less exacting times, but he may seek comfort in the 
fact that his labours bring him compensation, by 
reason of his greater knowledge, and the increased 
power of doing good, which lies to his hand. 

Perusal of the pages of the first number of the 
University Calendar will show that, in 1858, the old 
order of things had become considerably altered. A 
preliminary examination in Arts was established and 
made compulsory for medical degrees. Before the 
candidate could obtain his Doctorate of Medicine, he 
had first to take his Bachelor's degree ; his course of 
study was to cover four years instead of three, and 
his examinations were to be still further divided into 
stages, in relation to the order in which the subjects 
of medical education were studied, thus instituting 
the three professional examinations. 

The equipment of the different departments and 
the provision made for giving practical instruction 
in the scientific subjects of the curriculum, when 
viewed in the light of modern recjuii'ements, may 
well be described as most im})erfect. " When I first 
became connected with this School in 1854," Turner 
has told us, " tlie only subjects in which practical 
instruction was imparted — in which the student was 
required himself to experiment or observe — were 
Botany, Chemistry, and Anatomy, with, of course, 
the practical training pursued in the Royal Intirmary. 


The great bulk of the teaching was by means of formal 
lectures with occasional demonstrations of specimens 
by the teacher. Each subject, therefore, derived its 
interest, not so much from its own intrinsic merits, as 
from the descriptive power of the professor, and the 
force with which he threw his own personality into 
his teaching." The need of increasing laboratory work 
was becoming year by year more imperative. Lec- 
tures, however good and well illustrated, the reading 
of books, however extensively carried out, failed to 
give the student the reality and the fulness of know- 
ledge which alone could come from experiment and 
actual observation. 

The Commissioners, appointed under the Act of 
1858, took certain steps in this direction, but two 
great obstacles barred the way to their efficient 
development — the lack of the necessary funds, and 
the want of suitable accommodation. What was 
shortly to be done in Edinburgh to overcome the 
latter difficulty will form the subject of another 
chapter. Progress, however, was slow, and the pro- 
vision that was then made must appear meagre 
when viewed in the light of what now exists. Two 
assistants were appointed in Chemistry, and a joint 
assistant was placed at the disposal of the Professors 
of Materia Medica and Medical Jurisprudence. Even 
Anatomy had no assistant officially recognised by the 
University until 1863, Turner and his two colleagues 
being appointed and remunerated by Goodsir him- 
self. We look in vain for any practical instruction 
in Physiology until 1862-63, when a new class-room 
was acquired for teaching histology, and for demon- 
strating experimental methods. Pathology continued 
to be taught entirely by lectures and demonstrations 
until 1870, and a practical class in Materia Medica 
was held for the first time in 1878, and only then, 
each of the Professors in the Medical Faculty became 
provided with an assistant. It must not be assumed 
from these facts that medical education in the Uni- 


versity was defective. On the contrary, it occupied 
a very high position, and the influx of students was 
rapidly increasing — an increase which merely accen- 
tuated the handicap under which the work was being 
carried on, by emphasising the lack of accommodation. 
In the session of 1858-59, the number of students who 
matriculated in medicine was 526, while twenty years 
later they had more than doubled, 1323 being enrolled 
in the Faculty in 1878. The movement which was 
taking place towards a more practical method of 
teaching the theory of medicine was a comparatively 
new one. Chemistry, Physiology, and Anatomy were 
growing too fast for the resources of the Schools, but 
the opportunities for study in Edinburgh, in spite of 
the difficulties, were greater than those in the large 
London Schools of the period. 

As the result of the labours of Lord Kinnear's Com- 
mission, appointed in 1889, far-reaching changes were 
introduced into the system of University education, 
many of which directly affected the training of the 
student in medicine. Very careful consideration was 
given by the Commissioners to the question of the 
Entrance Examination, and to the standard of effici- 
ency in general education that was to be exacted from 
the student entering both the Arts and Medical 
Faculties. The conditions of Secondary Education 
throughout Scotland, at that time, were not such as 
to allow every boy and girl to receive at school the 
training necessary to bring them to the standard 
which was regarded as sufficient for commencing a 
University career. As it was important to maintain 
in the Arts Faculty the distinction between School 
and University education, it was deemed advisable to 
2fuard aofainst lowering; the standard of the defrree in 
Arts by attempting to adapt the classes to students 
who might be insufficiently prepared. A Joint Board 
of Examiners was instituted for the purpose of con- 
ducting the Entrance Examination, but it was given 


the power to accept, under certain conditions, the 
leaving certificate of the Scotch Education Depart- 
ment in lieu of the examination. It was clearly in 
the mind of the Commission that the examination 
was not to be regarded as final and permanent, but 
that its position in the future would depend upon the 
measure of improvement effected in the standard of 
school education in Scotland. This expectation will 
probably be realised shortly, as the Scottish Univer- 
sities have recently agreed upon an Ordinance which 
will go far to revolutionise the previous methods of 
admission to the graduation courses in the University 
Faculties. The Ordinance provides for the establish- 
ment of an Entrance Board, consisting of members 
appointed by each of the University Courts, with 
powers to decide upon all questions connected with 
admission to the different faculties. The general scope 
of the Ordinance is sufficiently wide, as it will be part 
of the duty of the Entrance Board to determine the 
fitness of applicants who have resided elsewhere than 
in Scotland, while those who possess Arts' degrees in 
any British or Foreign University, or a certificate 
equivalent to a degree, may be regarded as exempted 
from the requirements of the Board. The test of the 
prospective student's knowledge will not necessarily 
depend upon the result of a single examination, but 
may be based upon. the character and standard of his 
work during the whole period of his secondary educa- 
tion, as furnished by the report of his teachers. The 
principle has already been adopted in some of the Arts' 
classes in the University. We may perhaps, in the 
future, see the same idea adopted in the case of the 
})rofessional examinations in medicine, and if the 
teachers in the University are prepared to accept the 
increased responsibility which the adoption of such 
a method would place upon them, the burden of the 
examination system, as at present conducted, will be 
considerably lightened. 


The scope and the standard of the Entrance Ex- 
amination for students of Medicine had received the 
close attention of the General Medical Council during 
the period immediately preceding the sessions of the 
Scottish Universities' Commissioners, and Turner, then 
a member of the Council, took a very active part in 
the discussions of its Committee on Education. It 
was rightly regarded as indispensable, that medical 
students should have as liberal an education as 
possible, before commencing their professional studies. 
While there was general agreement upon this point, 
diversity of opinion was expressed as to the subjects 
which should be included in the examination on 
general education. Turner insisted upon the attain- 
ment of a higher standard in English, and he favoured 
the inclusion of one ancient language, suggesting that 
the candidate miofht select either Greek or Latin, and 
one modern language, either French or German, while 
elementary Physics should either form part of the 
Preliminary Examination or be incorporated as a 
subject of the First Professional. The Commissioners 
of 1889 prescribed an examination under the Joint 
Board of Examiners similar to that which they had 
instituted in Arts, but modified it, so as to substitute 
French or German for Greek, and they placed Physics 
as a compulsory subject in the First Professional, 
along with Botany, Zoology, and Chemistry. 

The position which the preliminary scientific sub- 
jects should occupy in the educational training of the 
student of medicine was a matter which, for a long 
time, had exercised the minds of those most interested 
ill the arrauirenient of the medical curriculum. It still 
continues to do so. When the Commission of Liquiry 
into the state of the Scottish Universities conducted 
its investiirations in 1876, Huxlev f^ave considerable 
attention to the question, and sought Turner's advice 
on several points. In one of his letters to Turner, he 
indicates a difficulty which had to be overcome. 


London, April 23, 1877. 

My dear Turner, — Many thanks for your commentary 
upon my proposals, which will be very valuable to me. I 
shall at present only just say a word on two or three points. 

I fancy that there will be no difficulty in making Greek 
optional in place of French or German. 

We shall never get physical science introduced into the 
scliools until it is made an element in the University ex- 
aminations, and the Arts students have to be considered as 
well as the medical students. I would give up a good deal 
rather than forego Natural Philosophy. It is really indis- 
pensable for the study of physiology. But I quite agree 
with you that there should be some limitation of the 

The Physiology which I contemplate in the first examina- 
tion for medicine is only so much as is incidental to Botany 
and Zoology. The difficulty is how to get a course of Biology 
such as I give at South Kensington, and which would be 
invaluable as a preliminary for medical students, to suit your 
arrangements with your three Professors of Botany, Zoology, 
and Physiology. It would be an immense gain if students 
could come to the study of Human Anatomy and Physiology 
with the edge taken otT their ignorance by such preliminary 
instruction in Biology. 

Our Report will be suggestion and not legislation, and I 
hope that great freedom of action will be left to the individual 
Universities. T. H. Huxley. 

When in 1887, the Medical Council was discussing 
the question of the relation of the early scientific 
subjects to the schools on the one hand, and to the 
Universities and medical teaching bodies on the 
other, they found so great a divergence of views that 
they were obliged to let matters remain as they were 
for a time. 

The teaching of science in the schools is once again 
the subject of close inquiry, as evidenced in the 
Report of the Committee appointed in 1916, to inquire 
into the position of natural science in the educational 
system of Great Britain. Greater facilities have now 
been provided for educating the boy and girl in 
natural science during the school period. It has 


thus become possible for the University to consider 
whether it might accept the training given to them 
at school, as equivalent to the instruction hitherto 
received in the first year of medical study. If this 
w^ere accepted as an alternative, it should be safe- 
guarded in such a way that the science course should 
not interfere with the schoolboy's general education, 
which is as necessary for the prospective student of 
medicine as for any other professional career. If that 
were sufficiently provided for, the advantage which 
would accrue to the medical student would be con- 
siderable. On reaching the University, after a careful 
preliminary training in the basic sciences, he would 
be free to give more time to those subjects more 
intimately associated with medicine and surgery, and 
to that extent relieve the already congested cur- 
riculum. Some compromise might be reached by the 
schools undertaking to provide merely a groundwork 
in the natural sciences, while the Universities com- 
pleted the education thus received by giving short 
courses, specially devoted to the medical application 
of the same subjects : Chemistry and Botany in their 
bearing on pharmacy and therapeutics ; Physics as 
applied to physiology, and Biology in its more inti- 
mate relation to the spread of disease. 

A striking innovation introduced by the Commis- 
sioners into the new Arts course was the large infusion 
of science. The admission of science into a course of 
graduation in Arts, though not intended to deprive 
that degree of its " humanistic culture," had never- 
theless a special bearing upon the relation of the 
Faculty of Arts to that of Medicine. Of the sub- 
jects necessary for the medical degree, four, Physics, 
Chemistry, Botany, and Zoology, could now be taken 
as part of the Arts course. One of the years of 
medical study was thus included within the Arts 
curriculum, so that an inducement was thereby 
offered to the medical student to prepare for his 


professional career by extending, at the same time, 
his training in the subjects of a "liberal education." 
It is interesting to inquire how far this good in- 
tention has been taken advantage of, and to what 
extent the student of medicine has taken an Arts 
degree under these new regulations.^ If we take 
the five years which preceded the introduction of 
the science subjects into the Arts curriculum, we 
find that 1016 students graduated in medicine in 
Edinburgh during that period. Of these, 112 were 
Masters or Bachelors of Arts, 55 of whom held the 
Edinburgh degree and 57 that of other universities, 
thus giving 11 per cent of the total number with a 
qualification in Arts. In the inclusive period of 
1891-1895, 1217 students graduated in medicine, of 
which number 136 graduated in Arts — 70 in Edin- 
burgh and 66 in other universities, furnishing as 
before, a total percentage of 11. During the suc- 
ceeding five years, 1895-1900, only 7 per cent of those 
graduating in medicine were also qualified in Arts.^ 
In all probability, the increasing demands made upon 
the energies of the medical student, coupled with 
the addition of an extra year to his course of study, 
were responsible for defeating the excellent object 
which the Commissioners had in view. 

Amongst other changes introduced into the course 
of graduation in medicine was the extension of the 
period of study from four years to five, and an alter- 
ation in the denomination of the degree-titles con- 
ferred : the degree of Bachelor of Surgery was sub- 
stituted for that of Master in Surgery, the latter in 
future being regarded as a higher title of the same 
order as that of Doctor of Medicine. In addition 
to the presentation of a thesis, which was necessary 
when the higher degrees were sought, an examination 

I am indebted to Sir Ludovic Grant for supplyina: me with the figures 
quoted here. ffj^ 

2 The actual figures for 1895-1900 were : graduates in medicine, 946— 
Arts degree, Edinburgh, 37 ; other Universities, 35 : total, 72. 


in certain special sujects was instituted before either 
of these qualifications could be obtained. Provision 
was also made for the University to confer diplomas 
in special branches of medical and surgical practice 
upon graduates in medicine and surgery. 

An epoch-making change was inaugurated, at the 
same time, by the establishment of separate Faculties 
of Science in the Scottish Universities. Edinburgh 
had instituted degrees in pure science as far back 
as 1865, and, as we shall see, had conferred her first 
degree in Public Health ten years later. Degrees in 
Science had become necessary in order to meet the 
growing demands for scientific instruction. The 
Baxter Chair in Engineering had been founded in 
1868, and the Murchison Chair of Geology in 1871, 
both of which had been added to the Faculty of Arts. 
The regulations for study and graduation in science 
had been entrusted, at first, to a Committee of the 
teachers of the subjects which qualified for the B.Sc, 
but the Commissioners realised that science teaching 
had come to assume an independence and dignity 
which called for the introduction of the more aca- 
demic title of a Faculty. Moreover, its importance as 
a preparation for the industrial pursuits was becoming 
more and more emphasised, and the subjects would 
gradually acquire a still greater prominence if the 
different Chairs became incorporated in a distinct 
Faculty, instead of being confined to the Faculties 
of Arts and Medicine. In Edinburgh, in addition 
to the Bachelor's and Doctor's Decfrees in Pure 
Science, similar degrees were granted in the Applied 
Sciences, in tlie subjects of Engineering and Public 
Health, while a B.Sc. was given in Agriculture. 

The development of science, the expansion of 
practical instruction, and the great increase in the 
number of medical students, which we have seen 
had reached an unprecedented figure during the 


eighties,^ made it necessary for the Commissioners 
to consider carefully the best method of enlarging 
the existing teaching staff. In order to cope with 
the situation, three methods were open to them — 
the extension of the extra-mural system of teaching, 
the appointment of lecturers, and the establishment 
of new professorships. In dealing with the extension 
of the extra-mural system, it was obvious that, if per- 
mission were given to the student to take the whole 
of his curriculum outside the University, congestion 
in the professorial lecture-rooms would be lessened, 
and the practical classes would be relieved of some 
of that overcrowding which is inimical to the best 
standard of tutorial work. Such a course, however, 
presented certain disadvantages. The arrangement 
would be unsuitable by failing to make any pro- 
vision for increasing the teaching power within the 
University herself; it might, too, render even more 
inadequate, from the loss of fees, her revenue, which 
was far from sufficient to meet all the claims that 
were made upon it, and it would tend to divorce 
teaching: from examination to an extent which was 
not consistent with the idea then regarded as part 
of the University system of education. A greater 
latitude, however, was, at the same time, granted to 
medical students by the Commissioners in permitting 
half of the classes taken in the Extra-Mural School 
to qualify for graduation. 

The foundation of new Chairs depended mainly 
upon the provision of adequate funds for their en- 
dowment. In the circumstances which then existed, 
it was felt that it would not be advantagfeous to 
establish additional Chairs, when great demands for 
other and very urgent purposes would be made upon 
the revenues of the University. Money had been 
ear - marked for founding a Chair of History in 
Edinburgh, and it was therefore deemed imprudent 
to appropriate any further portion of the Parlia- 

1 See Chapter V. 


mentary Grant for the endowment of additional pro- 
fessorships in medicine. Moreover, a professorship 
implied an appointment of a more permanent char- 
acter ; it could not be so conveniently discontinued, 
if experience should prove that it had not been so 
successful as was at first anticipated. Every addi- 
tional Chair also meant a numerical increase in the 
Senatus Academicus, and, in consequence, an increas- 
ing difficulty, from mere numbers, in the satisfactory 
transaction of business by that body. Turner foresaw 
that the Senatus might, at some future time, become 
too large an administrative body, and that it might 
be necessary to create an executive of its own mem- 
bers. The Principal, the Secretary, and the Deans of 
the various Faculties might be ex officio members, 
and, in addition to these, one or two representatives 
from each Faculty would complete the Executive 
Committee. He thought that if any change were 
considered advisable, it should be in this direction. 

The solution of the difficulty which lay before 
the Commissioners was approached by increasing the 
number of lecturers and by improving the position 
of the assistants. A Lectureship could be attached 
to a subject, the specific importance of which was 
not such as to raise it to the dignity of a Chair. 
Lecturers, therefore, were appointed in subjects which 
had not been taught previously within the University, 
and also in special branches of subjects which were 
not usually or fully dealt with in the Professorial 
lectures. The intention was to open an academic 
career to graduates who might show some special 
capacity for such a calling. The position of the 
Lecturer deservedly acquired an academic status. As 
he took his share in the higher teaching of the 
University, he became responsible, along with the 
Professor, for a large part of the practical and 
laboratory instruction necessary for qualification, and, 
in many instances, his work carried with it the im- 
portant function of examining for the degree. Some 


share in the administrative machinery was also given 
to him by instituting Boards of Studies, upon which 
certain of the lecturers were represented. Provided 
with opportunities for carrying out original investiga- 
tion, the lecturers, if possessing the necessary scientific 
bent, were in a position to acquire experience and 
prestige, such as would give them an undoubted stand- 
ing upon the teaching staff. 

The introduction of these lectureships, along with 
an improvement in the status of the University 
assistants, has greatly strengthened the teaching 
power of the University. The increase in the number 
of lecturers has been rapid during recent years, due 
mainly to the opening up of fresh subjects in con- 
nection with Honours classes in Arts and Science, and 
with the expansion of teaching in clinical medicine. 
Prior to 1889, six lectureships had been instituted, 
four of which belonged to the Faculty of Medicine, 
but by 1895, twenty additional appointments had 
been made. In 1916, the number slightly exceeded 
one hundred, while the assistants to Professors, some 
of whom also held lectureships, numbered close upon 
the same figure. History, Economics, Modern Lan- 
guages, the application of science and arts to the 
industries, subdivisions of the subject of geology, and 
various branches of the Law, and even military in- 
struction, all became part of the system of University 
education. In their gradual development Turner took 
a great deal of interest and exercised his influence in 
their promotion. He foresaw one possible danger which 
might arise from the institution of a number of appoint- 
ments filled by comparatively young men, whose object 
was to gain experience in teaching and to acquire a more 
thorough knowledge of their subject. There was a risk 
that some might fail in due course to obtain promotion, 
and thus, with advancing years, tend to become dis- 
appointed with their want of success in life, a condition 
of things which would not conduce to the value of the 
lectureships in the scheme of University instruction. 




Public Health and the Sir John Usher Institute — Bacteriology — 
Clinical Medicine — Tuberculosis. 

Although the Commissioners were unable to see 
their way to institute new Chairs in the Faculty of 
Medicine, some progress has since been made in this 
direction. During a period covering nearly seventy 
years (1831-1898) no new Professorships in medicine 
had been established. In 1831, the Chairs of Path- 
ology and of the Principles of Surgery were founded, 
Dr John Thomson and Mr John William Turner re- 
ceiving their respective commissions from William IV. 
A strong protest was made both by the Town Council 
and by the Senatus against their foundation, on the 
ground that the Crown was interfering with the 
regulations of the University by giving these gentle- 
men power to examine candidates for graduation. 
Pathology was then being taught by the Professor 
of Medicine, while Monro tertius combined the teach- 
ing of Surgery with his duties as an anatomist. 
But with the establishment of these two Chairs the 
Faculty of Medicine was, for the time being, regarded 
as complete, and no additions were made to it until 
1898, when the first of four new Chairs was created, 
two of which were also included in the Faculty of 
Science. The history of their origin is full of interest, 



and illustrates what public- spirited generosity will do, 
when State aid is not so all-embracing as to stifle 
individual effort and render private endeavour un- 
necessary, while interwoven with the material aspect 
of the story of their creation runs a fine thread of 

The subjects dealt with in three of the four new 
Chairs are closely linked with the larger question of 
the development of the study of the prevention of 
disease, for which a new era opened in this country 
early in the reign of Queen Victoria. Sanitary science 
and sanitary reform were largely the products of the 
Victorian period. The arrest of the spread of infec- 
tious disease, the better housing of the labouring 
classes, improvement in the defective cleansing of 
towns, a healthy supply of water and milk, and 
many other questions bearing on the health of com- 
munities, had aroused but little intelligent public 
interest before that time. Much still remains to be 
done. As the outcome of the pioneer work of men 
like Chad wick, Southwold Smith, and Sir John Simon, 
the State took over the control of sanitary reform 
and legislated for many effective remedial measures. 
It is not surprising, therefore, that the prominent 
position which the science of preventive medicine had 
assumed should be reflected in the great teaching 
schools of the country, and that their material progress 
should advance along the same line. Edinburgh has 
no reason to be ashamed of the pioneer character of 
the part which she has played in this domain of 
medicine. She was the second city in the kingdom 
to appoint a Medical Officer of Health, and the first 
to insist on the compulsory notification of infectious 
diseases, while her University was the leader in estab- 
lishing a degree in Public Health and in founding 
a Chair for the instruction of her students, before any 
similar steps had been taken elsewhere. 

The Public Health Act of 1872 had brought about 
a new departure by requiring that all urban and rural 


authorities should appoint Medical Officers of Health 
in their respective areas. Previous to the Act, health 
officers had been established only in the larger cities 
throughout the country. A new field of work was 
thus opened up to the medical profession, and the 
University realised the necessity of taking appropriate 
steps to make her graduates eligible to hold these 
important appointments. Sir Lyon Playfair, who had 
taken an active part in the House of Commons debate 
upon the second reading of the Public Health Bill, 
and always mindful of the interests of the University 
which he represented, wrote to the Dean of the Medical 
Faculty in 1873, as follows : — 

I am always jealous for the reputation of our University, 
and that it should keep abreast of public wants. Medical 
officers of health are now becoming a great requirement of 
the country, but with the exception of the diploma of Trinity 
College, Dublin, for State Medicine, there is no certificate of 
the qualifications of young medical men, as to their fitness 
to discharge such important duties as are involved in health 
officers. Hygiene involves knowledge of a very special kind, 
and is generally acquired as a supplement to a professional 
education. In the absence of examinations, the candidates 
for public office have to depend upon the miserable system 
of private testimonials. Would it not be worthy of con- 
sideration, whether the University of Edinburgh should put 
itself in advance of these rapidly growing recjuirements for 
the public service ? A supplementary diploma for public 
hygiene would give a great advantage to your graduates 
who obtained it. 

Acting upon this suggestion, the Faculty prepared 
a scheme, and the University laid down a curriculum 
and established a degree in Public Health, the fiist of 
which was conferred in 1875, upon James Russell, 
then acting as Turner's Senior Demonstrator in 
Anatomy. In after years, Sir James made a close 
study of Sanitation, and during his long period of 
service as a member of the Edinburgh Town Council, 
he held the office of Convener of the Public Health 


The problem of teaching a new department of 
Science presented many difficulties in a School al- 
ready seriously burdened by lack of accommodation. 
But having undertaken the task of conferring degrees, 
educational facilities had to be provided. A corner 
in the old chemical laboratory in the south - west 
corner of the Quadrangle was set apart for the pur- 
pose, and, in this modest way, a commencement was 
made in giving men practical training for the Public 
Health service. Steps were taken in planning the 
New Medical Buildings to give more suitable accom- 
modation for a branch of science which was steadily 
developing, and, when the School in Teviot Place was 
completed in 1885, a chemical and bacteriological 
laboratory was provided for it in the department 
assigned to Medical Jurisprudence. Thus, in 1874, 
Edinburgh took the lead and introduced a new de- 
parture in scientific education. Through the foresight 
and energy of Henry Duncan Littlejohn, her Medical 
Officer of Health, she was again in the van in 1879, 
when he urged upon the Town Council the necessity 
of obtaining an Act of Parliament to make compulsory 
the notification of infectious disease. 

During the sixties, Louis Pasteur in his laboratory 
in the Rue d'Ulm in Paris was conducting his experi- 
ments upon fermentation, and was laying the foun- 
dation of that scientific discovery upon which Lister 
built his antiseptic principles in surgery. Pasteur 
had destroyed the theory of spontaneous generation, 
and had proved that fermentation does not occur as 
an independent process, but is induced by the addition 
of minute cultivations of micro-organisms. He had 
studied, with that minute care which characterised 
all his work, the causes of disease in wines, and of 
the failure in the production of good beer. His 
scientific researches had shown that every marked 
alteration in the quality of beer coincided with the 
development of micro-organisms which were foreign 


to the nature of true beer yeast. The alterations in 
its quality depended upon the introduction of the 
organisms as ferments of disease, which were con- 
veyed by the air, by the ingredients, and by the 
apparatus used in the breweries. 

Pasteur, being anxious to visit the great English 
breweries, had proceeded in 1871 to London, where 
he was most courteously received. Escorted by the 
managers of one of the most important breweries in 
the city, he examined minutely with his microscope 
sample after sample of the porter and ales submitted 
to him, and, to the astonishment of the party, he was 
at once able to inform them which were defective in 
quality and which the reverse. He demonstrated 
the presence of the noxious ferments, and explained 
to his audience how the quality of the beer was 
affected by the micro-organisms which were foreign 
to the beer yeast. " Pasteur was happy to offer to 
the English, who like to call themselves practical 
men, a proof of the usefulness of disinterested science, 
persuaded as he was, that the moral debt incurred to 
a French scientist would in some measure revert to 
France herself" ^ 

In the spring of 1884, the University of Edinburgh 
celebrated her great Tercentenary Festival. Of the 
many distinguished men whom the University and 
the city delighted to honour on that unique occasion, 
no one received a more popular and enthusiastic wel- 
come than the great French savant. As the guest 
of Mr H. J. Younger during his brief stay in the city, 
he visited the Abbey and Holy rood breweries, and, 
to his great delight, he found that the practical appli- 
cation of his views had been systematically carried 
out in the brewing process. He there made the ac- 
quaintance of Mr A. L. Bruce, an active partner in 
the firm, and a keen student and admirer of Pasteur's 
scientific work. Despite the many calls upon his 
time, Pasteur was able to accept the hospitality of 

' ' Life of M. Louis Pasteur,' by Rene Valery-Radot. 


Mr Bruce and his wife, the daughter of Livingstone, 
the African missionary and explorer. 

In memory of this visit and as an acknowledgment 
of the Frenchman's great contribution to science, 
Bruce decided to found a Chair of Public Health in 
the University. It is recorded that when suddenly 
attacked by illness, which he realised was likely to 
prove immediately fatal, he sent for his friend and 
adviser, Mr G. L. Crole (recently made Sheriff of the 
Lothians and Peebles), and arranged for the prepar- 
ation of a codicil to his will, so as to complete the 
terms of his bequest ; this he was able to sign three 
hours before his death. Supplementary donations 
from his widow and famUy, from Mr John Usher of 
Norton (later Sir John Usher, Bart.), and from the 
firm of William Younger & Sons, raised the sum avail- 
able for the endowment to £15,000. Thus, the Com- 
missioners under the Act of 1889, were able'to prepare 
an Ordinance instituting a separate Professorship in 
the subject, the first of that nature in the kingdom. 
With the resignation of Sir Douglas Maclagan in 
1897, Medical Jurisprudence and Public Health, 
hitherto taught together, were divorced from each 
other. Sir Henry Littlejohn succeeded to the Regius 
Chair, and in 1898, Dr C. Hunter Stewart became the 
first occupant of the Bruce and Usher Chair of Public 

It was as essential for the progress of sanitary 
science as for any other branch of scientific study, 
that it should be assisted by experimental investiga- 
tion and research. The accommodation reserved in 
the University for the department of Public Health 
was, as we have said, of a very limited character, and 
was hardly capable of further extension within the 
building in which it had been placed. Turner's at- 
tention had been directed, for some time, to the 
problem of raising funds for providing an Institute 
worthy of the city, of the University, and of the 


importance of the science whose interests it would 
serve. Probably no one connected with the Univer- 
sity during his lifetime exercised a greater influence 
upon the minds of public men than he did, when the 
question arose of making an appeal for raising funds 
for an important University object. The high posi- 
tion which he occupied in the estimation of the public, 
the earnestness with which he explained the necessity 
of obtaining the object in view — one might say, in- 
deed, the evident righteousness of his appeal — and his 
persuasive power in the manner of making it, made 
it difficult for men to deny him their assistance. 

Turner found in Mr Crole an active supporter of 
his views, and, with his help, he was enabled to see the 
accomplishment of the scheme which he had so much 
at heart. " I was told," said Mr Usher, "that a 
Chair without an Institute was not much good. There 
is an old saying, 'in for a penny, in for a pound,' and 
they asked me if I would build it, and I said I would." 
His generous response to the appeal was announced 
in the following letter which appeared in * The 
Scotsman ' newspaper : — 

Uni%'er8ity of Edinburgh, 
Jidy 27, 1898. 
The Editor of ' The Scotsman.' 

Sir, — At this time, when matters affecting the profession of 
medicine in its relations to the health of the community are 
filling so large a place in the public eye in this city, I wish to 
be allowed to state in your columns that, through the munifi- 
cence of Mr John Usher of Norton, an Institute of Public 
Health is to be built and eijuipped for the teaching of the 
subject, and for the prosecution of research, worthy of the 
University and of the Medical School of this city. 

Mr Usher has already shown his practical interest in aani 
tary science by completing the endowment of the Chair of 
Public Health, which was instituted by the late Mr A. L. 
Bruce, and added to by members of his family and firm, and 
to which an appointment was made by the University Court 
a few days ago. 

Mr Usher is now about to provide the Professor with a 
building and equipment to enable him efiiciently to carry on 


his work, so as to meet the requirements of this rapidly 
developing and fundamentally important branch of medical 
science.— I am, etc., William Turner. 

The Sir John Usher Institute of Public Health, which 
the donor desired should be utilised also for the pur- 
pose of carrying out such investigations as the city 
authorities desired in the interests of the health of 
the community, vv^as completed and handed over to 
the University in 1902. Standing in the Warrender 
district of the city, it forms an integral part of 
the large scheme of University extension, which has 
gradually spread out its branches from the parent 
stem that encircles the old Quadrangle. 

Coincident with the approaching completion of the 
Sir John Usher Institute, another Edinburgh citizen 
was laying the foundation of a second Chair of Science 
in his native town. Robert Irvine, a Fellow of the 
Royal Society of Edinburgh, had long devoted his 
leisure moments to the study of numerous scientific 
problems. Trained as a chemist in his younger days, 
he had been appointed chemical adviser to the well- 
known firm of A. B. Fleming & Co., the printing-ink 
manufacturers at Granton, in which he eventually 
became a partner. Intellectual, broad-minded, and 
deeply interested in the application of science to the 
promotion of industrial efficiency, he gathered about 
him a number of friends, whose presence he and his 
wife always welcomed warmly in their home at Caro- 
line Park, overlooking the waters of the Forth. It 
became the centre of a small scientific coterie, which 
included such men as Sir John Murray, K.C.B., 
Professor Sims Woodhead, now of Cambridge, and 
Professors Noel Paton of Glasgow and David Orme 
Masson of Melbourne University. Irvine's natural 
leaning towards biological questions was fostered by 


his constant intercourse with John Murray, whose 
residence at " Challenger Lodge " was so near his 
own ; while a keen interest in the side issues, which 
the science of bacteriology evoked, was stimulated by 
his conversations with Woodhead. 

Murray and Irvine leased the old sandstone quarry 
at Granton, into which the sea had burst many years 
before ; and there, where the waters rose and fell with 
each flow and ebb of the tide, they moored their 
floating laboratory, " The Ark," and carried on their 
observations. The steam yacht Medusa dredged the 
waters of the Forth, and the study of marine zoology 
under these new conditions must have recalled to 
memory the earlier work of Edward Forbes and John 
Goodsir, who had laboured, forty years before, along 
the same shores. Those who attended the summer 
vacation courses in Biology in the eighties will not 
have forgotten the hours which they spent at Granton, 
when W. A. Herdman, J. Arthur Thomson, Patrick 
Geddes, and J. T. Cunningham disclosed the living 
wonders of the sea, and the Irvines dispensed their 

Robert Irvine, although never a University student 
of science — a circumstance which he often regretted — 
was desirous of leaving behind him a permanent 
memorial, by the aid of which the study of bacteri- 
ology might be further advanced. His interest in the 
secretion of carbonate of lime by marine animals — a 
subject on which he wrote a number of papers — and 
the process of solution which the salt underwent, by 
the action of minute bacteria setting free carbonic 
acid, appealed to his imagination and gave him the 
idea of founding a Chair of Bacteriology in the 
University. Upon his death on March 20, 1902, his 
trustees were empowered to invest the whole, rest, 
and remainder of his means and estate, as a separate 
Trust, for the purpose of accumulating a sum of 
twenty-five or thirty thousand j)ounds for founding a 
Professorship in the University of Edinburgh, and the 


equipment of a class-room and laboratory for teaching 
and research. 

In the Indian Ocean, lying to the south of Java and 
not far from the equatorial line, lies the small British 
possession named Christmas Island. Upon the for- 
tunes of this small area of the Empire rested the 
future of the Edinburgh Chair. Sir John Murray's 
researches had led him into the study of the nature 
and distribution of the varied submarine deposits of 
the globe, and he investigated their relation to the 
rocks which formed the earth's crust. He accumulated 
material from all parts of the world, and compared 
what was sent to him with his own collection, which 
he had made while vo3^aging with the Challenger 
expedition. During the eighties, a sample of rock 
from Christmas Island was sent to him by Commander 
Aldrich ofH.M.S. Egeria. Murray and Irvine inves- 
tigated the specimen, and found that it was composed 
of a valuable phosphatic deposit. While Murray's 
interest in the rock was at first solely a scientific one, 
he soon realised its economic importance, and he 
became convinced that the island might be of value 
to the nation. The Government of the day was 
accordingly approached, and finally, Lord Salisbury 
agreed that the next British warship which passed 
that way should hoist the British flag upon it. Thus, 
this lonely uninhabited island of volcanic origin was 
annexed. Murray obtained a concession and visited 
the island, which, under his energetic directions, soon 
teemed with life. Roads were made, a railway was 
constructed, piers and waterjvorks built, and a flour- 
ishing colony worked the phosphatic deposits. While 
the British Treasury received its royalties and taxes, 
the commercial company in which Irvine had invested 
acquired its fortune, and the Chair of Bacteriology in 
Edinburgh became, year by year, a more certain event. 
Turner, who was well acquainted with Irvine's inten- 
tions, anxiously awaited the accumulation of the funds, 


and when, in 1913, the Trustees were able to make 
over the sum necessary to ensure the endowment, he 
recognised that a very important point had been 
reached in connection with scientific teaching in the 
University. The Robert Irvine Chair came under the 
patronage of the University Court, and Dr James 
Ritchie, the Superintendent of the Laboratory of the 
Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Edin- 
burgh, and formerly Professor of Pathology at Oxford, 
was appointed its first occupant. Thus, pure scientific 
investigation had led directly to the accumulation of 
wealth, which, in its turn, was destined to lead to still 
further scientific advancement.^ 

The Roll of Benefactors of the University contains 
the names of many who have bequeathed large sums 
of money allotted to certain specific objects. The 
foundation of Chairs, as we have seen, has been one 
of them, while fellowships, scholarships, and bur- 
saries, and the erection of buildings also, owe their 
origin to benefactions of a similar kind, and the 
names of the donors have been associated with 
their gifts. On the other hand, legacies not set apart 
for any particular purpose, but left free for the 
University authorities to decide as to the best 
method of their application, have been far from 
numerous. Turner often expressed the wish that 
legacies, not ear-marked for a particular object, might 
be more frequently bestowed, so that the money 
could be applied, where it was most needed. In 
1908, however, the University was fortunate in 
receiving a bequest of this nature from one of her 
graduates in medicine, a medical practitioner of dis- 
tinction, the late James Moncrietl" Arnott of Chapel, 
in the kingdom of Fife, and from his daughter. A 

' I am indebted to Professors Sims Woodliead and W. A. Uertlman for 
most of tlie information upon wbicl» litis des< ii|)ti. n is liased. 


portion of the residue of their estate was left for 
such uses and purposes as the University Court 
might see fit to apply them. 

When clinical teaching in the Royal Infirmary 
was being reorganised in 1913, a draft Ordinance 
was prepared by the Court for the foundation of a 
Chair of Clinical Medicine. Dr W. S. Greenfield 
had resigned his position, as Professor of Pathology, 
on account of failing health, and the wards which 
had been under his charge as a " Professor of Medi- 
cine " had thus become vacant. With the appoint- 
ment of Dr Lorrain Smith as his successor in the 
University Chair, the teaching of Pathology became 
dissociated from that of Clinical Medicine. It was, 
therefore, necessary that the managers of the Infirmary 
should make new arrangements for the charge of the 
wards which Dr Greenfield had vacated. 

In 1778, the "Professors of Medicine" in the 
University, who had for a number of years given 
clinical lectures in the hospital, had been put in 
charge of wards in order to facilitate further their 
teaching. The managers, although recognising that 
the interests of medical education were closely inter- 
woven with those of the University, nevertheless 
always acted on the understanding that the Uni- 
versity had no prescriptive right or vested interest 
in the occupancy of wards by members of the pro- 
fessorial staff. The Board of Management of the 
hospital to-day, while recognising the same principle, 
shared with their predecessors the desire to give 
every facility for the advancement of the school, 
and accordingly, in their agreement with the Uni- 
versity Court in 1913, they arranged that a Professor 
of Clinical Medicine should be appointed to the vacant 
wards. The agreement went even further than that, 
because, when a vacancy occurred in the Chair of 
Materia Medica, it was arranged that the wards, 
hitherto under the charge of Professor Sir Thomas 
Eraser, should be allocated to a professor or pro- 


fessors of Edinburgh University. The long-standing 
association between the University and the Infirmary 
was thus to be perpetuated. 

From the funds accruing from the legacy of the 
MoncriefF Arnotts, the Court was able to honour the 
memory of the donors by founding the first Chair 
of Clinical Medicine and by associating their name 
with it. Dr William Russell was appointed Professor 
on October 20th, 1913. 

Throughout a period covering close upon thirty 
years, Edinburgh has fought her battle against 
tuberculosis. The Royal Victoria Hospital had been 
founded at Craigleith in 1887, and was maintained 
by public benefaction, with the object not only of 
treating consumption in the hospital and in the 
houses of the poor, but for the purpose of taking 
preventive measures against the disease, and for pro- 
moting the advancement of the science of tuberculosis 
in its various forms. From the experience derived 
from long-continued observation, a practical scheme 
for dealing with the disease had gradually been 
evolved. It consisted of three main elements, which 
had come to be regarded as essential factors in the 
treatment of tuberculous persons : these were, the 
dispensary, the hospital, and the farm colony. The 
dispensary in Lady Lawson Street stood as the general 
clearing-house through which the various activities 
of the scheme were operated ; the diagnosis of the 
disease, the supervision of the families and houses 
of the afflicted, the training of nurses and medical 
practitioners, and the accumulation of scientific data, 
were the main objects of this department. The 
hospital at Craigleith accommodated the more ad- 
vanced cases, and those whose condition justified the 
opinion that a course of careful treatment would lead 
to eventual recovery. The farm colony at Lasswade, 


the most recent development of the system, provided 
more prolonged treatment for those who had been in 
hospital, and for whom the benefits of further care 
held out the prospect of a future useful existence. 

The co-ordination of these three elements consti- 
tuted the Edinburgh Scheme for dealing with tuber- 
culosis. The success which had attended it, due 
mainly to the pioneer work and energy of the chief 
physician, Dr R. W. Philip (Sir Robert), brought the 
system prominently under professional and public 
notice. It was adopted by the Local Government 
Boards throughout Great Britain and Ireland, and, 
having thus received national endorsement, it became, 
in 1912, the accepted basis of that part of the National 
Insurance Act of 1911 which dealt with Tuberculosis 

As the city of Edinburgh obviously benefited by 
the work of the Victoria Dispensary, the Municipal 
Corporation had contributed annually to its funds, 
but when the Insurance Act came into force, it was 
necessary that the Committee of the Hospital, and 
the Corporation, as the Local Authority under the 
Act, should make some change in the existing arrange- 
ments. The Committee recognised that a scheme, 
which was to be made available for the whole com- 
munity, must necessitate an amalgamation of all the 
agencies and institutions which were engaged in the 
prevention and treatment of tuberculosis. They ac- 
cordingly entered into an agreement with the Cor- 
poration, which was signed on March 13th, 1914, 
whereby the latter was to take over, administer, and 
carry on the work of the Royal Victoria Hospital 
and its component parts, as the nucleus of their 
administration under the Public Health (Scotland) 
Act and the Insurance Act. The Hospital Com- 
mittee, however, retained the privilege of utilising 
the buildings for the furtherance of its own scientific 
objects. A Provisional Order confirming the agree- 
ment was obtained by the Corporation in 1916. 


The Royal Victoria Hospital, thus relieved of a part 
of its original functions, formed itself into a Trust, and 
was able, with the funds at its disposal, to develop its 
energies and its usefulness along fresh lines. The pro- 
niotion of scientitic study by founding and equipping 
Chairs and Lectureships, the publication of useful 
information regarding the causes and prevention of 
tuberculosis and allied diseases, the care and treat- 
ment of those persons who had not come within the 
province of the local authorities under the Insurance 
Act, were objects well worthy of the benefaction of the 
Trust, and of the public who subscribed to its funds. 

The gradual increase in the number of the little 
pavilions in the grounds of the hospital at Craigleith 
had attracted Turner's attention for a number of'years 
in his walks in the northern outskirts of" the city. He 
had at first taken up a critical attitude, somewhat 
adverse to the anti-tuberculosis propaganda, but, as 
he watched the extension of the scheme, and realised 
more fully its importance to the community at large, 
he became more sympathetic towards it. His old 
interest in public health matters was revived, and 
stimulated by his conversations with his friend Mr 
Lawrence Guthrie, one of the active secretaries of the 
Trust, he paid a visit to the new dispensary building 
in Lady Lawson Street. He was greatly impressed 
by what he saw there, and by the facilities which it 
provided for teaching and advancing the science of 
tuberculosis. In the class-room, the library, the 
museum, and the laboratory adjacent to the clinical 
department, he saw great possibilities, and he realised 
that they might be utilised in a larger field than that 
to which they had hitherto been apphed. "What is 
to be the relationship of these various institutions with 
your Alma Mater?" was the question which lie put to 
Sir Robert Philip. The possibility of the foundation 
of a Chair of Tuberculosis in the University began to 
assume a more practical shape in his mind, and, hav- 


ing once turned his attention to the subject, he 
proceeded to work for the furtherance of the scheme. 
In the summer of 1914, he received, in his official 
capacity as Principal, a communication from the 
Honorary Secretaries of the Royal Victoria Hospital 
Tuberculosis Trust, which contained the following 
passage : " We enclose a copy of the Provisional 
Agreement with the Corporation, and a copy of the 
new Constitution and Rules of the Trust, from which 
you will observe, that one of the objects of the Trust 
is to promote the scientific study of tuberculosis by 
founding and equipping, or assisting to found and 
equip, a Chair or Lectureship, or Chairs or Lecture- 
ships, in one or more of the Universities of Scotland. 
We have been instructed to inform you that the 
Trustees, should the Provisional Agreement be con- 
firmed by Provisional Order, propose to provide the 
necessary funds to found a Chair in the University of 
Edinburgh, which would concern itself with tuber- 
culosis, should such a proposal meet with the approval 
of the Court of your University." This generous offer 
on the part of the Trustees was gratefully acknow- 
ledged by the University Court, and, in due course, 
a capital sum of £18,000 was handed over by the 
Trust, along with every facility which the dispensary, 
the hospital, and the farm colony could provide for 
teaching and research in connection with the Chair. 
Owing to the delay which arose in connection with 
obtaining the Provisional Order, Turner did not live 
to see the Chair established. It was not until Dec- 
ember 1917, that Sir Robert Philip was elected by the 
Court as Professor of Tuberculosis, when Edinburgh 
again took the lead by founding the first Chair of the 
kind within the Empire. 




The extension of building and equipment, the upkeep 
of new laboratories and museums, the expansion in 
practical instruction necessitated by the constantly 
increasing demands of science, necessarily involved 
many additional calls upon the finances of the 
University. No one realised more than Turner the 
need of adequate resources to meet not only the 
existing obligations, but the prospective increase in 
expenditure which would certainly take place from 
year to year. Few persons, other than those more 
intimately associated with the administration of a 
great institution like the University, probably realise 
the sum that is annually required for its maintenance, 
nor do they appreciate how rapidly the expenditure 
may increase in a very short period of time. 

The income which is annually available to meet 
current expenses is derived from three main sources : 
the interest from a comparatively small portion of the 
total capital of the University — the greater part of 
the capital being allocated for such particular pur- 
poses as endowments, bursaries, &c. — the matricula- 
tion and graduation fees of students, a surplus, if 
any, from the Fee Fund,^ and lastly, the annual 

' The Fee Fund has been explained in Chapter IX. 
2 A 


Parliamentary Grant. The money received from 
these sources constitutes the General University 
Fund, out of which all current expenses must be 
paid. An illustration of the expenditure which has 
to be met out of this Fund may be given from the 
statement submitted to the Chancellor of the Ex- 
chequer by the Edinburgh University Court, when, 
in 1908, a further request for assistance from the 
Treasury was being made by the Scottish Univer 
sities. The total income which accrued to the 
General University Fund in the previous year 
amounted to £39,691. The actual expenditure in- 
curred was £40,862, showing a deficit of expenditure 
over income of £1171. The expenses of administra- 
tion alone, for the year 1907, reached £4500, while 
the upkeep of the existing buildings, their lighting, 
heating, and cleaning for the same period, cost 
between twelve and thirteen thousand pounds ; the 
laboratory and museum expenses between four and 
five thousand, the library about two thousand five 
hundred, while the lecturers and assistants were 
paid nearly fourteen thousand, and the examiners 
close upon three thousand pounds. The annual 
income which formed the General University Fund 
naturally fluctuated with the rise and fall in the 
number of matriculated students, while the expenses 
invariably tended to augment. Thus, in 1909, two 
years later, the sum necessary for the maintenance 
of the buildings had increased by three thousand 
pounds, while an additional thousand pounds had 
been expended upon the salaries of the lecturers. 
These figures clearly show the financial strain im- 
posed upon the University Court in their attempt to 
keep abreast of the growing demands of education. 

The necessity of appealing to the State for assist- 
ance was sufficiently obvious. In a bill introduced 
into Parliament in 1883, an attempt was made by 
the Treasury to come to an arrangement with the 
Universities of Scotland, whereby an annual sum of 


£40,000 was to be paid to them, which was to cover 
all their claims, past, present, and future. In other 
words, it sought to deprive these institutions of any 
further opportunity of obtaining additional State 
financial assistance, and thus to leave them handi- 
capped in the matter of adding to their resources, 
or adapting themselves in the future to the ever- 
changing conditions and the needs of higher educa- 
tion. Such a proposal could not have been accepted 
either by the Universities or by the people of Scot- 
land. " I can recall," writes Turner, " the answer 
given by one of the shrewdest of Edinburgh citizens, 
the late Sir George Harrison, to the then Financial 
Secretary to the Treasury — that the proposal to 
dispose for the future of the claims of the Univer- 
sities to public moneys would require to be coupled 
with the condition that the people of Scotland would 
also have to be freed from all future increase of taxa- 
tion," Fortunately for the Universities, the bill did 
not become law. 

The Parliamentary Grant, which the Act of 1889 
provided for the needs of the Scottish Universities, 
amounted to an annual payment of £42,000, a sum 
which was considered quite inadequate to meet both 
the existing obligations and future requirements. 
Turner led a protest against the inadequacy of this 
provision, the terms of which were not, however, 
altered. But within a month of the passing of the 
Act, Mr Goschen, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, 
awoke to the fact that the sum was not sufficient. 
The claims of the Scottish Universities were re- 
considered, and an additional £30,000 were allocated 
to them under the Education and Local Taxation 
Account (Scotland) Act, which was passed in 1892, 
thus providing the Universities with an annual grant 
of £72,000. After the deduction of what was neces- 
sary to meet the various calls upon the pensions 
funds for Principals and Professors, the University 
of Edinburgh received as its yearly share of the 


balance close upon £21,000, the other Universities 
being credited with lesser amounts. 

A new financial era, however, in the history of the 
Universities of Scotland was slowly taking shape. 
Obstacles in the way of effecting improvements, 
which had hitherto seemed almost insurmountable, 
were soon to a great extent to become smoothed 
over. Some lessening of the financial strain was 
about to be provided for the men who kept so close 
a watch upon the "University chest," to whom the 
provision of ways and means to keep the educational 
machinery running smoothly was ever a source of 
anxiety. It came somewhat unexpectedly, except to 
the few who were in intimate contact with the man 
who was carefully preparing his scheme. Once more 
private generosity was coming to the assistance of the 
Scottish Universities, and, on this occasion, upon a scale 
which far exceeded any previous benefactions. 

Andrew Carnegie, Scotsman, millionaire, and phil- 
anthropist, already a generous benefactor, both in 
this country and in the land of his adoption, had 
conceived the idea of assisting every child of Scottish 
birth, who had sufficient merit to pass the Entrance 
Examinations, to receive the benefits of a University 
education. In 1901, he announced his intention of 
setting apart a sum of two millions sterling for the 
purpose of relieving Scottish parents of the necessity 
of paying their children's fees at the Universities of 
Scotland. Such was the original scheme which 
evolved in Mr Carnegie's mind, the general purport 
of which, he expounded to a number of the leading 
statesmen and politicians of Scotland at a private 
meeting held in Dover House in May of that year. 

It was not unnatural that the sense of appreciation 
aroused by the donor's splendid generosity should be 
mingled with expressions of doubt as to the wisdom 
of the scheme — as to whether the object which he 
had in view would be altogether beneficial to the 


recipients, to the Universities concerned, or, indeed, 
to educational interests in Scotland. Carnegie's 
original idea was to make the non-payment of fees 
a compulsory measure for all Scottish students — an 
arrangement which could only have become effective 
by means of an Act of Parliament. Such a bill 
would undoubtedly have raised very considerable 
controversy, and, in its attempted passage through 
the Legislature, might even have led to the abandon- 
ment of the whole scheme. The *' compulsory freeing 
of education," restricted, as the intention was, to one 
group of students, in Universities with an eminently 
cosmopolitan position, did not appeal to the majority 
of those who carefully considered the terms of the 
gift. The project, if carried in its initial form, might 
also have endangered the interests of the Secondary 
Schools and the various Technical Colleges in the 
country. The question arose, and indeed became a 
subject of discussion, as to whether it would be 
possible to exact the payment of fees in these inter- 
mediate schools and institutions, when education in 
the lower schools, on the one hand, and higher edu- 
cation in the Universities, on the other, were to be 
made free. If secondary education were also to be 
freed, a large sum of money would require to be 
raised annually, and a considerable additional tax 
would thus be imposed upon the ratepayer. In this 
event, the object of the Carnegie scheme would be 
partially defeated, because that which was given 
with the one hand would be taken away with the 

Turner was invited to attend one of the early 
conferences at Dover House, where, along with Lord 
Elgin, Lord Balfour of Burleigh, the then Secretary 
for Scotland, Mr Arthur J. Balfour, Mr John Morley 
(Lord Morley), Sir Henry Craik, and Mr Thomas 
Shaw (Lord Shaw), the advantages and disadvan- 
tages of the proposal were freely discussed with Mr 
Carnegie. By piecing together some manuscript 


notes which Turner has left, it is possible to learn 
the direction of his thoughts, and the views which 
he expressed at the meeting. 

" The granting of opportunities to persons of limited 
means to obtain a University education for their 
children is most praiseworthy. Even with the bur- 
sary system in Scotland, there is room for an extension 
of effort in this direction, which v/ould be welcomed. 
But this should not be complicated by forcing into a 
scheme persons with means, who are able and willing 
to pay for the education of their children. If a com- 
pulsory system of free education were adopted — and 
this would necessitate legislation — money would be 
spent on freeing parents from the payment of fees, 
and the State has no right to compel parents to accept 
free University education when they may not desire 
to be liberated. It would be just as improper as to 
compel all children, whatever might be the financial 
position of their parents, to attend the Board Schools, 
and in so far to pauperise them. Under a permissive 
system, on the other hand, a balance of money would 
be left for the extension of the Universities in the 
direction of buildings, appliances, and teaching staff." 

" If this reasonable and limited plan were adopted, 
there would not, I think, be any need for legislation. 
The University Court by the Act of 1858, sect. 12 
(4), has the power to fix the fees in the several classes. 
If the Carnegie Trust were to undertake to pay the 
fees of those who required assistance, it would be doing 
on a large scale what benevolent persons not infre- 
quently do at present for individual students. The 
object which Mr Carnegie has in view, of bringing 
University education into the power of all who are 
fit to receive it, but unable to pay for it, would be 
accomplished without leading to difficulties and opposi- 
tion in the legislature. The fact that two classes of 
students would attend the University — namely, those 
who pay fees, and those who do not themselves pay — 
would not be of moment, as at Eton and many other 


public schools there are foundation and non-foundation 

" A natural question to consider is the effect of 
such a change upon the finances in the University 
system. The scheme in itself would not add to her 
revenue, unless the number of students underwent a 
proportionate increase. It would mean no more than 
that fees now paid by parents would be paid by the 
Trust. Can we look for a large increase of students 
under its operation ? In considering this matter, it 
must be remembered that the number of students each 
year is practically determined by the standard of the en- 
trance examination, and in the education of the schools 
being sufficient to prepare for that standard. Hence 
the subject has an important bearing upon secondary 
education in Scotland. Were this so improved as to 
permit of a large increase in the number of students, 
the Universities would then be called upon to make 
payment on capital account for larger class-rooms, and 
in the scientific departments for larger laboratories, 
more apparatus, and other teaching appliances ; and 
additional teachers would be needed. It is possible 
that the increase in the number of fees might be 
sufficient to provide salaries for the increase of the 
teaching staff in existing subjects, but it would be 
altogether inadequate to meet the charges to be in- 
curred on new buildings and teaching appliances. 
Hence the scheme, even in the restricted sense to 
which I have referred, would call for an increase in 
the capital of the Universities to provide for all those 
improvements in educational methods, and for adding 
to the branches of knowledge which will require to be 
taught in the future." 

Mr Carnegie, essentially a practical man and anxious 
to consider the best interests of the Scottish Univer- 
sities, and from the widest standpoint, was consider- 
ably influenced by the opinions which were placed 
before him by his friends. A working scheme was 
therefore prepared, from which far-reaching benefits 


have been obtained, and the financial position of the 
Universities to-day has been materially improved. 
One-half of the net annual income arising from the 
gift was to be applied towards " the improvement 
and expansion of the Universities in the Faculties of 
Science and Medicine; for extending the opportunities 
for scientific study and research, and for increasing 
the facilities for acquiring a knowledge of History, 
Economics, English Literature, and Modern Languages, 
and such other subjects cognate to a technical or com- 
mercial education as can be brought within the scope 
of the University curriculum." This was to be achieved 
by the erection of buildings, the equipment of labo- 
ratories, and the endowment of Professorships and 
Lectureships, and especially by scholarships for the 
purpose of encouraging research. 

The other half of the income, or such part of it as 
might be found requisite, was to be devoted on a per- 
missive basis " to the payment of the whole or part of 
the ordinary class fees exigible by the Universities 
from students of Scottish birth or extraction, and of 
sixteen years of age and upwards, or scholars who 
have given two years' attendance after the age of 
fourteen at such schools or institutions in Scotland 
as come under inspection by the Scotch Education 
Department." The Carnegie Scheme, however, was 
not confined in either of its two main spheres of use- 
fulness to the Universities alone. It went further 
than that, and it gave assistance to schools and insti- 
tutions in Scotland which provided technical or com- 
mercial education wliich, though outside the present 
range of the University curriculum, might be accepted 
as doing work of a University level. One condition, 
however, was attached to Mr Carnegie's gift. The 
Trust was entitled, in making a grant, to require from 
other persons or Trust such additional sums as they 
might conceive reasonable or necessary to attain the 
desired object. 

An Executive Committee, under the Chairmanship 


of Lord Elgin, was selected from among-st the Trustees 
appointed to carry out the administration of the Trust. 
Turner was chosen to represent the University of 
Edinburgh upon the Executive Committee. " I am 
rejoiced," wrote Lord Robertson to him, " that the 
University Court has taken advantage of the singular 
good fortune which places your services at their dis- 
posal for a work of such enormous and lasting import- 
ance." Turner continued to serve until his death, 
being re-elected for each of the biennial periods during 
which the University obtained representation. His 
knowledge of affairs and his sound grasp of financial 
matters gave him great influence during the early 
difficulties with which the Executive was faced. The 
Trust was most fortunate too in its choice of a secretary. 
In Mr W. S. M'Cormick (Sir William M'Cormick) they 
found a man eminently qualified for a position which 
exacted not only a thorough knowledge of educational 
matters, such as his previous training had given him, 
but an acquaintance with finance, so necessary for 
dealing with such large sums of money as the Trust 
required to handle. While carefully considering every 
claim upon its own merits, the Executive has justly 
held that none of the Universities had vested interests 
in the Trust money, nor were they entitled to receive 
specific sums. But it has always acted in a most 
liberal spirit, and has invariably adopted a sympathetic 
attitude towards the numerous calls which have been 
made upon it, while the Secretary has generously given 
his advice and assistance at all times. 

The operations of the Trust in the payment of fees 
led to an expenditure of £445,373 in the four Univer- 
sities during the first decennial period of its labours. 
The increasing demands which had been made upon 
this part of the benefaction had brought about in 1911, 
an expenditure somewhat in excess of the income 
available under the Clause. Consequently, it became 
necessary for the Trust to apportion certain annual 
allowances or grants for the new beneficiaries, in place 


of the payment of the whole of the fees, as had been 
done in the past. A careful study of figures prepared 
by the University, with the view of determining 
whether this form of free education had resulted in 
any actual increase in the number of Scottish students 
or scholars attending the University of Edinburgh, 
has led to the conclusion that no such result had been 
brought about under its influence. 

The work of the Trusty under the clause dealing 
with the improvement and expansion of the 
University, has added greatly to her resources, and 
has lightened the burthen which has so continuously 
overweighted her. But the operations of the Trust 
must naturally have their limitations, and the sum 
of £50,000 allotted annually for distribution amongst 
the four Universities was not one which could be 
expected to remain, for all time, the same. The 
American Steel Bonds, which furnished the capital, 
were not likely to yield consistently the same 
interest, and they were, moreover, redeemable in 
fifty years, when an actual loss might naturally be 
looked for. While the Trust fully appreciated the 
desire of the Universities for immediate assistance, 
it felt that it was impossible to give them any large 
portion of its annual interest as income. After careful 
deliberation, it determined upon a quinquennial scheme 
whereby capital grants were made to provide build- 
ings and endowments of lectureships in yearly in- 
stalments covering a period of five years, and in 
order to meet the more urgent and immediate claims 
of the Universities, provisional assistance was like- 
wise given, as income, during the same limited 
period. Thus the University of Edinburgh being 
desirous, for example, to found a lectureship in 
French, the Carnegie Trust provided the annual 
salary, say, of £300 to the lecturer for five years. 
During the same period the University was credited 
with £1000 annually towards the endowment fund 
of the lectureship, so that at the end of five years 


half of the capital endowment of the lectureship 
had been obtained, and, under the condition attached 
to Mr Carnegie's gift, it only remained for the rest 
of the endowment to be furnished from another 
source. The provisional aid thus permitted of an 
immediate start being made with a lectureship, while 
the capital assistance freed the Trust at the end of 
five years from the necessity of providing any further 
help for that particular object, and gave it greater 
freedom of action in connection with the many other 
calls which were made upon it. The Carnegie Trust 
has, therefore, come in this way to be — along with 
other private benefactions — a very valuable source 
of capital endowment, and the Universities have 
been enabled to keep themselves abreast with modern 

The assistance which the Carnegie Trust has received 
in the furtherance of its objects through the applica- 
tion of other benefactions was strikingly illustrated 
by the munificence of Sir Donald Currie, G.C.M.G. In 
response to a personal appeal for assistance. Turner 
received from Sir Donald Currie, in 1905, the 
generous donation of £25,000. It was the expressed 
desire of the donor that the metropolitan University 
of his native land should be placed upon a sound 
financial basis, and that the revenue, derived from 
his gift, should be applied by the Court for the 
remuneration of a staff of lecturers such as the 
University might find it advisable from time to time 
to appoint. A sum of £20,000 was set aside for 
this purpose, and designated as " The Sir Donald 
Currie Lectureship Endowment Fund." 

In order that the revenue derived from the gift 
might become immediately available, Sir Donald ex- 
pressed the hope, that the Executive Committee of 
the Carnegie Trust would assist him by at once 
handing over the funds which they had allocated to 
Edinburgh for teaching purposes. It is needless to 
say that the Committee willingly agreed to further 


Sir Donald's wishes, and they offered to place the 
income of the capital sum of £10,000, ear - marked 
for Edinburgh University, at the disposal of the 
Court, to be used in conjunction with that derived 
from Sir Donald Curries gift. Lectureships in 
Forestry, Geograpliy, Economic History, Chemical 
Physiology, and Tropical Medicine were established 
as the result of the arrangement. 

Out of the event which we have just recorded there 
grew up a close and sympathetic friendship between 
Turner and Sir Donald Currie. The annual summer 
cruise in the Western Highlands in the steam-yacht 
t'olaire, and the occasional visit to Garth, Sir Donald's 
Perthshire home, became some of the pleasantest 
memories of Turner's later years. Though the sphere 
in which each had laboured was so widely different, a 
similar object characterised the lifework of both men. 
Their work was essentially constructive — the one de- 
voting himself to assisting in the imperial task of 
Empire-building, the other giving his time and his 
energy to improving and expanding an educational 
structure which also played its part in cementing 
the bonds of Empire. 

One further aspect of the Carnegie benefaction 
remains to be noticed. The assistance which the 
Trust has given to the encouragement of scientific 
and literary research has likewise proved most 
gratifying. It has had, indeed, a stimulating effect 
throughout the length and breadth of Scotland. 
Many, who otherwise would have found themselves 
financially unable to turn their attention to laboratory 
work, have through its agency been able to devote 
themselves to original inquiry, and what has been 
accomplished in some of the departments has been 
recognised as work of a high order of merit. 

It is not always by individual effort alone that the 
best results can be tnost effectively attained. The de- 
velopment of co-operation between individual workers, 


not only in the same, but in different departments of 
science, requires to be encouraged, and in this respect 
also the Trust has had its influence. The growth of 
" Schools of Research " in the various departments un- 
doubtedly has been encouraged, and a further exten- 
sion of the same system and a closer alliance between 
workers and groups of workers in different depart- 
ments, would do much to develop further progress. 

The reputation of a large school cannot rest alone 
upon the teaching ability of those who minister to the 
immediate wants of their pupils, however capable the 
teachers may be individually, or however well organ- 
ised the system of education. The school must produce 
men who can extend her reputation beyond the narrow 
confines of the lecture-rooms and wards in which their 
daily work is carried on, and this can only be achieved 
by labouring at the elucidation of scientific problems. 
When men are thus engaged they are better able to 
infuse a similar spirit into the minds of others. 

Edinburgh, in the past, built up her reputation as 
the leading medical school not only by the ability 
of her alumni as teachers, but by the contributions 
which many of them made to the great discoveries 
of the past century. Public and private benefaction 
may bequeath large sums of money to provide 
the necessary means. The men in whose hands is 
placed the duty of arranging the scheme for con- 
ducting the affairs of the School may labour, as 
Turner did, in the best interests of the University ; 
but the great body of teachers, equally with those 
to whom we have alluded, have their individual 
part to play in carrying on the work and enhancing 
the reputation of their Alma Mater. Governments 
may legislate and sup})ly the sinews of war ; 
generals may plan their dispositions for battle, and 
their subordinates in rank may see to their effective 
arrangement ; but without the spirit and the untiring 
labour of the mass of the rank and file, the will to 
conquer and the path to victory cannot be attained. 




College of Surgeons and the Teaching of Anatomy — College of 
Physicians and the Physic Garden — Surgery and Medicine 
in the Surgeons' Theatre — Foundation of Medical Faculty — 
The Extra-Mural School — Qualifies for University Degree — 
School of Medicine of the Royal Colleges — The Royal 
Infirmary, 1729 — Clinical Teaching — Professors of Medicine 
and Surgery — Movement to amalgamate University and Extra- 
Mural Teachers — Reorganisation of the Infirmary Staff. 

Frequent reference has been made in these pages 
to the Extra-Mural School of Medicine, a factor in 
the scheme of medical education in Edinburgh which 
has no precisely similar counterpart in the other 
Scottish University towns. It is appropriate, at this 
stage in our narrative, to sketch briefly the origin and 
progress of the School, and to show how its fortunes 
were intimately linked with those of the University, 
outside whose walls it became a valuable educational 
element in the medical history of the city. During 
Turner's life in Edinburgh two important milestones 
marked the onward course of the School ; one might 
justly say, indeed, that his advent was coincident 
with its greater expansion and usefulness as a teach- 
ing body, while his passing followed closely upon a 
change which materially affected many of its teachers, 


and for the final adjustment of which he was largely 

The first seeds of medical education in Edinburgh 
were planted and germinated, in soil which was not 
cultivated with the object of raising the academic 
Medical Faculty as we see it in the University to-day, 
but in order to create a school of medicine which 
flourished for many years before that Faculty was 
founded. In 1505, the Incorporation of Surgeons and 
Barbers received its civic Charter from the Town 
Council, which granted the right to carry out dis- 
sections upon the human body and to instruct and 
examine in anatomy. For more than a century and 
a half the surgeons were the sole teachers of the 
healing art in the city. At the beginning of the 
eighteenth century, increased activity manifested 
itself in the surgeons' school, and having built an 
anatomical theatre, they proceeded to carry out 
" public dissections," for which purpose they ap- 
pointed regular teachers from amongst their Fellows. 
Robert Eliot was elected in 1705, and he in turn 
was succeeded by Adam Drummond, John M'Gill, 
and Alexander Monro, the last-named receiving the 
anatomical appointment in 1720. 

In 1675, the leading physicians in the city, promi- 
nent amongst whom were Sir Robert Sibbald and 
Dr Andrew Balfour, had begun to recognise the 
importance of botany in its application to medicine. 
Both these men were distinguished naturalists, and 
had made valuable collections illustrating the natural 
history of Scotland. Sibbald, who had been educated 
at the University of Leyden, where he graduated in 
1661, made a special study of the Cetacea, and his 
work in this connection has already been referred to.' 
These men took steps to acquire a small piece of 
ground close to Holyrood House, where they estab- 
lishen a Physic Garden, the humble beginning of the 
Botanical Gardens of to-day. The care of the garden 

> Chapter VII. 


was entrusted to James Sutherland, a youth who 
possessed an intimate knowledge of plants ; and his- 
tory records that in 1695, the Town Council appointed 
him Professor of Botany in their College, while the 
Surgeons retained his services for the instruction of 
their apprentices. There is no evidence, however, 
that Sutherland lectured in the Town's College. 

Sir Robert Sibbald's energies were further directed 
to founding the College of Physicians, which received 
its Royal Charter on November 29, 1681. Although 
restricted by the same from establishing a school of 
medicine — a restriction which was finally removed 
under the new Royal Charter of 1861 — the Fellows 
of the College, as individuals, were at liberty to teach 
their profession as they saw fit. Sibbald, James 
Halket, and Archibald Pitcairne taught the principles 
of medicine, and in 1685, the Town Council appointed 
them Professors of Medicine in the University, with- 
out salary and without assigning to them any pro- 
fessorial duties. Pitcairne, indeed, one of the most 
celebrated physicians of his day, actually occupied 
the Chair of Physic in Leyden during a part of the 
period when he was supposed to be fulfilling similar 
duties at home. The position of these men in the 
University was therefore merely nominal, and their 
appointment cannot be regarded as establishing the 
foundation of the Medical Faculty. 

In 1720, two physicians of the Royal College, 
Andrew St Clair and John Rutherford, came to the 
assistance of their surgical brethren, and joining 
Alexander Monro, they taught the practice of physic 
and the institutes of medicine in the anatomical 
theatre of the Surgeons' College, while Drs Plummer 
and Innes lectured upon chemistry in the same build- 
ing. A School of Medicine had thus gradually de- 
veloped in Edinburgh, through the energies of the 
Fellows of the two Medical Corporations, and in it 
were contained the seeds of the Extra-Mural School. 
With the translation of Alexander Monro from the 


Surgeons' theatre in 1726, as the first Professor of 
Anatomy in the University, the Medical Faculty came 
into being, nearly a century and a half after the 
foundation of the University. Monro's colleagues 
accompanied him, and became professors in their 
respective subjects, and Joseph Gibson, a Fellow of 
the College of Surgeons, was elected, at the same 
time, the first Professor of Midwifery. It is not 
without interest to note that what happened in 
Edinburgh in this connection afterwards repeated 
itself in Amsterdam. The Medical School of that 
city was not originally a school of the University. 
It developed first, as it had done here, outside, and 
was then brought into the University, and the great 
anatomist Ruysch, like Monro j)7nmiis, was in his early 
career a teacher in the Surgeons' school. 

The physicians and surgeons continued to teach in 
what had now become the Extra-Mural School, and 
prepared their candidates for the examinations quali- 
fying them for their respective licences to practise, 
'The lecturers required no authority from the govern- 
ing body of their College to enable them to do so, 
nor was any examination test as to their fitness to 
teach, exacted from them. The School grew up 
without any corporate cohesion, and it developed a 
healthy competition and a spirit of friendly rivalry, 
which strengthened the reputation of medical educa- 
tion in Edinburgh. When the University began to 
send out her young graduates, some of whom after- 
wards joined one or other of the Royal Colleges, and 
aspired to follow a more academic career, the Extra- 
Mural School became a useful training-ground for 
them. In it they obtained experience in teaching, 
they worked at scientific problems, and, in many 
cases, gained reputations which afterwards justified 
their election to professorial Chairs, both in Edinburgh 
and elsewhere. It was often an uphill fight for the 
young lecturer ; but in spite of initial difliculties, the 
absence of endowment, the necessitv of personally 

2 B 


defraying all expenses, and the cramped accommoda- 
tion both for teaching and museum purposes, the 
School continued to flourish and to more than justify 
its existence. 

The old houses acquired by the lecturers of former 
times have now disappeared from the city map, and 
instruction is given, for the most part, in the buildings 
attached to Surgeons' Hall, for the construction and 
arrangement of which Sir John Struthers was largely 
responsible. But Surgeons' Square, the scene of the 
early work of the first Monro, of the Bells, Barclay, 
and Knox, of Liston, John Reid, Wharton Jones, 
Sharpey, and Allen Thomson ; Brown Square, where 
Syme and Lizars first taught anatomy and surgery, 
and Argyle Square, in which Handyside and John 
Struthers conducted a conjoint course in anatomy, 
have been demolished in the onward march of town 
improvements. Minto House, once the surgical hospital 
of Syme, and later containing the class-rooms of many 
of the teachers in the Extra-Mural School, still stands, 
under a new guise, on the north side of Chambers 
Street, but is now in the hands of a commercial house. 

For more than a century after the foundation of 
the Faculty of Medicine, the classes of the Extra- 
Mural teachers, while qualifying for the diploma and 
licence of the two medical Corporations, were, with 
one exception, not recognised by the University as 
qualifying for her degree in medicine, though they 
were open to any of her students who might be 
desirous of gaining knowledge through that channel. 
Practical anatomy w^as the only qualifying class which 
the student could then attend outside the University. 
During the Professorship of the third Monro, the fame 
of Barclay and Knox, coupled with the inability of 
Monro to arouse enthusiasm in his subject, attracted 
large numbers of University students to the ana- 
tomical theatre of the College of Surgeons. Never- 
theless, they were obliged to enrol in the Professor's 
Lecture class, and obtain from him the attendance 


necessary for a qualifying certificate. In 1840, James 
Syme, always a strong supporter of the recognition 
of extra-mural teaching, and himself a former lecturer 
in the School, addressed a letter to the Town Council, 
in which he suggested an inquiry into the causes 
of the steady diminution in the number of medical 
students in the University. He hinted in his letter 
that an explanation might be found in the rigid rule 
upon which the University acted, in refusing to recog- 
nise any instruction as qualifying for the degree, save 
what was given within its own walls, or by another 
University. Such a monopoly was injurious alike 
to teacher and taught. The former, secure in his 
position and free from competitive rivalry, ran the 
risk of becoming satisfied with a routine discharge of 
his duties, and of narrowing the field of his activities. 
The latter had no alternative against professorial in- 
efiiciency, nor could he seek an outlet elsewhere, if 
excessive numbers tended to the uncomfortable over- 
crowding of class-rooms. 

The Town Council, after prolonged consideration, 
drafted certain alterations in the regulations which 
governed medical teaching in the University, and 
directed that four of the extra-mural classes should 
qualify for the degree in medicine, and that this 
should become effective in 1847. Opposition on the 
part of the Senatus Academicus led to protracted 
litigation. The Scottish Law Courts decided against 
the plea put forward by the professorial body that 
they, and not the Municipal Patrons, had the right 
to regulate University degrees. An appeal was finally 
taken to the House of Lords, and in August 1854, 
the Scottish decision was there confirmed. The Sen- 
atus had merely delayed for eight years the opera- 
tion of the Town Council's regulations of 1847. 

Such was the position of afiairs when, two months 
later, Turner joined Goodsir' s staff. The decision of 
the House of Lords gave a fresh impetus to extra- 
mural teaching by recognising the classes of the 


lecturers as qualifying for the University degree. An 
Ordinance of the Commissioners appointed under the 
Universities (Scotland) Act of 1858, only served to 
confirm the arrangements already made, and the 
School was still further recognised by the Commis- 
sioners of 1889, who, as we have seen, allowed one 
half of the classes in the curriculum to be taken 
under its lecturers. Turner held the opinion that 
the recognition of extra-mural teaching had been 
productive of the greatest good to the University, 
but, for reasons already related,^ he was unable to 
support the proposal made in more than one quarter, 
that all the classes in the curriculum might be attended 

With the change in the status of their lecturers, 
it behoved the two Royal Colleges to take a more 
personal interest in them and to give some guarantee 
that they possessed the necessary qualifications to 
teach. Each prospective lecturer had, therefore, to 
undergo an examination test by his College, and if 
he also sought University recognition, an inspection 
of his premises and his fitness for his post became 
a subject of inquiry on the part of the University 
authorities. Notwithstanding the greater activity in 
the School and the increase in the number of lecturers 
consequent upon the new regulations, and in spite 
of the fact that the two Corporations had become 
responsible to the General Medical Council appointed 
by the Medical Act of 1858, as the central authority 
in all matters relative to teaching and examination, 
the two Colleges took no active share in regulating 
the conduct of the School. The teachers formed 
an independent association and made all their own 
arrangements. In 1884, they made an attempt to 
become incorporated as a teaching College under a 
Royal Charter, but in view of the approaching legis- 
lation in connection with the Scottish Universities, 
the Privy Council decided to delay consideration of 

1 Chapter XIII. 


their request, and no further procedure was taken. 
It was not until 1895, that the two Medical Corpora- 
tions definitely associated themselves with the body 
of lecturers, and formed a Governing Board consisting 
of fifteen members, with five representatives from 
each College, and five elected by the Association of 
Lecturers, with powers to supervise the whole manage- 
ment of the School and to maintain its efficiency and 
discipline. Thus, nearly four hundred years after the 
Surgeons and Barbers had received their civic Charter 
and commenced giving instruction in anatomy, a cor- 
porate body was founded under the title of the School 
of Medicine of the Royal Colleges. 

The history of the development of the Extra-Mural 
School would be incomplete, and the significance of 
the more recent arrangements which have been eftected 
between it and the University would not be duly 
appreciated, unless we follow the gradual growth of 
the two subdivisions of the Medical School in Edin- 
burgh, as they took shape within the walls of the 

When the Medical Faculty in the University was 
created in 1726, Edinburgh possessed no public hospital 
suitable for clinical or bedside instruction necessary 
for the training of the medical student. The care 
of the sick poor had not been entirely neglected pre- 
vious to that time, as the Physicians had been giving 
gratuitous advice and dispensing medicines for a 
number of years in a small building adjoining the 
Hall of the College. In this system, we see the 
origin of the Dispensaries which have grown up in 
the city, and which, in course of time, have become 
utilised for the purpose of giving medical instruction 
to students. Coincident, however, with the founda- 
tion of the Faculty, the interest of the citizens in the 
welfare of the poor was stimulated to action by the 
enthusiasm of George Drummond, the Lord Provost, 


a man of outstanding ability and endowed with a 
great capacity for organisation. With the assistance 
of his friend Alexander Monro primus, he obtained 
subscriptions from the general public, while contribu- 
tions to his hospital scheme were made by the College 
of Physicians and the Incorporation of Surgeons. It 
thus became possible in 1729 to open a small Infirmary 
in the vicinity of the University. 

We read in the " Rules of Management " adopted by 
the Contributors, that the Professor of Anatomy was 
given a seat upon the Board, a privilege doubtless 
granted to Monro on account of the active share 
which he had taken in the promotion of the hospital. 
The Professor of Anatomy retained this right until 
1870, when the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary Act was 
passed, amending the original Royal Charter of 1736. 
There is no evidence that Turner made use of the 
privilege which his Professorship gave him during 
the three years immediately following upon his election 
to the Chair. Since the Charter was amended in 1870, 
the Senatus Academicus has elected two representa- 
tives upon the Board of Management of the Infirmary, 
but, throughout the whole of his University career, 
Turner never accepted nomination for a seat on the 
Board from his colleagues in the Senatus. 

In the early history of the Infirmary, the treatment 
of the patients was entrusted to the members of the 
College of Physicians. The offer of the assistance of 
the Surgeons had at first been refused by the Managers, 
in consequence of which a surgical hospital was opened 
by the Incorporation ; but it was soon found expedient 
to merge the two hospitals into one, so that in 1738, 
the Infirmary became both a medical and a surgical 
hospital. No individual selection of visiting officers 
was at first made by the Board, but it was permissible 
for each member of the Physicians' College to serve in 
rotation for a brief period, if he cared to do so. The 
Surgeons, in their turn, were appointed on the same 
understanding. But in 1800, the Board adopted the 


principle which is now in existence. They found that 
it was inconvenient to have so many men visiting the 
institution for short periods, so they proceeded to elect 
a limited number of Ordinary Physicians and Surgeons 
from amongst the Fellows of the two Colleges, men 
whom they regarded as properly qualified to discharge 
the duties of the hospital. The duration of these 
appointments was originally for a much shorter period 
than now exists, but, by a gradual process of evolu- 
tion, longer terms of service were granted. These 
changes were not effected, however, without con- 
siderable protest from the bodies concerned, but the 
Managers were masters in their own house, and had 
made up their minds to exercise a more absolute 

University representation upon the Infirmary staff 
was originally an indirect one. The Professors of 
Medicine gave their services to the hospital, not by 
reason of their professorial status, but as Fellows of 
the College of Physicians, attending in rotation with 
their brother Fellows. The Board of Manao^ement 
was bound, both by its original Charter and by sub- 
sequent resolutions of the Managers, to select their 
physicians and surgeons from the two Royal Colleges. 
The regulation upon this point is the same to-day, and 
no one can hold an official position upon the Honorary 
Staff, whatever University degree he may possess, 
unless he is also a Fellow of one or other of the two 
Colleges in Edinburgh. 

Clinical instruction in the Royal Infirmary is men- 
tioned, for the first time, in the minutes of the Board 
in 1748. In that year, Dr John Rutherford, occupy- 
ing the Chair of Practice of Physic in the University, 
was discharging his duties at the hospital as a Fellow 
of the College of Physicians, and he was authorised 
by the Managers to commence a course of Clinical 
Lectures. In the following year, this privilege was 
extended to the Professors of Medicine during their 
attendance as physicians. Apparently all the patients 


in the hospital were put at their disposal for this pur- 
pose, and the duty of teaching was not limited to 
those members of the Faculty who taught the Prin- 
ciples and Practice of Physic, but it was bestowed 
upon each member of the Faculty who, as a physician, 
might be desirous of taking a share in clinical instruc- 
tion. Hence the term " Professors of Medicine " had 
a wider significance than, at first sight, it appears to 
have. The Managers were anxious to spare no pains 
to advance the prestige of the School of Medicine, so 
far as the hospital could serve that purpose, and, 
" foreseeing that its interests were closely interwoven 
with that of the University, they resolved to adopt 
every measure that could tend to facilitate medical 
education, and to render it com pleat." The Professors 
were finally allotted wards in 1778. In 1769, the 
Surgeons had been granted the privilege of giving 
clinical Lectures, but it was not until 1829, that 
similar permission was given to the Ordinary 
Physicians. Thus, while the selection of the Honor- 
ary Staff of the Infirmary was made from the Fellows 
of the two medical Corporations, clinical teaching was, 
at first, solely in the hands of the University Professors 
of Medicine. When a similar permission was given to 
the Ordinary Physicians and Surgeons, a subdivision 
of the teaching staff into intra- and extra - mural 
elements took shape, a separation which became still 
further emphasised, when the Chair of Clinical Surgery 
was founded in 1803. 

James Russell, at the time of his election to the 
Chair, was one of the Ordinary Surgeons of the hos- 
pital, and the Board gave him every facility to carry 
on his teaching, in so far as that did not interfere 
with the lectures delivered by the other members of 
the staff. When Syme was elected to the same Chair 
in 1833, his position was very different from that of 
his predecessor at the time of his election. Syme was 
not even a member of the hospital staff, and when the 
Senatus requested that wards might be given to him, 


the Board had to consider how his appointment might 
affect their arrangements. But being desirous to con- 
tinue the intimate connection between the Infirmary 
and the University, they appointed Mr Syme the 
Junior Assistant Surgeon, and they gave him three 
of the smaller wards to enable him to deliver his 
Clinical Lectures. They were careful, however, to 
point out that they regarded it as not only ultra vireSf 
but improper, to form any permanent arrangement for 
the Professors of Clinical Surgery, or to put any part 
of the establishment committed to their superinten- 
dence beyond their own control. It is interesting to 
read that when the greatest surgeon of his day was 
appointed to a Chair of such importance, he entered 
upon his duties in the humble capacity of a Junior 
Assistant Surgeon. In 1852, James Miller, the Pro- 
fessor of the Principles of Surgery, urged upon the 
Managers the necessity of providing him with beds, 
not for the purpose of giving Clinical Lectures, but in 
order to illustrate his systematic instruction. Acqui- 
escence in this request was followed by a strong pro- 
test on the part of the College of Surgeons, on the 
grounds, that in order to provide Mr Miller with 
wards, both the Professor of Clinical Surgery and the 
Senior Ordinary Surgeon would be deprived of beds 
hitherto available for purposes of clinical instruction. 
The College of Surgeons appealed to the Court of 
Session, but judgment was given against them, the 
Court deciding that the Managers were entitled to 
make such regulations as they saw fit for the benefit 
of the patients. Thus, University Surgical wards 
became established in the Infirmary. 

In more recent times, the position of the Ordinary 
Physicians and Surgeons of the Infirmary, qua teachers, 
differed from that of their University colleagues upon 
the staff in two important particulars. Like the rest 
of the lecturers in the Extra-Mural School, they were 


subject to the regulations of the Commissioners of 
1889, which authorised that only two of the five 
years of medical study, or half of the subjects of the 
curriculum, could be taken outside the University as 
qualifying for the degree. Thus, their opportunities 
for teaching University students in their wards were 
restricted by the terms of these regulations. Again, 
though they taught and examined the candidates 
studying for the licence of the Royal Colleges, they 
were not examiners in medicine and surgery for the 
University degree. It is true that, from time to time, 
one of their number was chosen as an additional 
examiner, to assist the professor either in the system- 
atic or clinical branch of his subject, but the appoint- 
ment was only temporary. The wards, staffed by the 
extra-mural teachers, could not be used for purposes 
of University examinations, save when one of the staff 
was in the temporary position of a co - examiner. 
Hence, much valuable clinical material remained 
unutilised, and the scope of the final examination in 
clinical medicine and surgery was correspondingly 
curtailed. Further, a teacher who was not an ex- 
aminer possessed an obvious disadvantage. The 
student, with his examinations in view, naturally 
desired to obtain some of his knowledge, at any rate, 
at the hands of those who were to test his fitness. 
In consequence of the arrangements that existed, 
the distribution of students throughout the various 
hospital wards was frequently unequal ; in some, the 
clinics were crowded, in others, but sparsely attended, 
with the result that the instruction lost much of its 
value. In large practical classes the personal contact 
between teacher and taught was almost impossible, 
and ^ some of the wards were overcrowded, to the 
detriment of the comfort of the patients. 

It was becoming increasingly evident that the full 
resources of the hospital were not being efficiently 
employed to the best advantage of the Medical School 
as a whole. Edinburgh could not afford to risk her 


position by neglecting to use what lay to her hand. 
With the advent of the present century, modern pro- 
gress was enlarging the sphere of medical education, 
and competition was increasing in no uncertain manner. 
Although Edinburgh still had the largest medical 
school in the Empire, it could no longer be regarded 
as the only attraction, and it could not expect to con- 
tinue to enjoy the unique position which it had held 
for so long, unless it put its house in order. The 
Overseas Dominions were being given every encourage- 
ment to strengthen their young schools. The old 
Universities of Oxford, Cambridge, and Durham, 
which, for so many years, had looked somewhat 
askance at the scientific side of education, were 
rapidly developing important schools of medicine. 
During the first decade of the new century, the young 
provincial Universities in England had come into 
existence with well-equipped medical faculties, and 
with a wealth of clinical material which only large 
cities were capable of providing, while even nearer 
home, the University of Glasgow was strengthening 
her position by incorporating into her medical school 
the teaching staif of a second infirmary, with all the 
clinical equipment which such a union provided. It 
was necessary, therefore, that Edinburgh should close 
up her ranks, and remove the restrictions wliich pre- 
vented the best use being made of the means at her 
disposal. It was not so much a question involving 
lack of teachers or paucity of material, as a want of 
organisation and complete utilisation of all her re- 

In Professor Sims Wood head's Memorandum, 
attached to the report of Lord Elgin's Committee of 
Inquiry into the financial condition of the Scottish 
Universities in 1908, a scheme was outlined for re- 
organising clinical instruction. Turner recognised, 
that in the successful competition of other scliools, 
there lurked a greater danger to Edinburgh than 
eould possibiy arise from the weakening of healthy 


rivalry in competitive teaching in Edinburgh itself. 
He realised that what restricted expansion within the 
School was the element of* dual control which governed 
the existing system, in the form of extra- and intra- 
mural authority. The University was the principal 
body ; it could not be otherwise, and no one denied 
that the success of the whole School must depend 
primarily upon her. It was essential, therefore, that 
if a satisfactory solution was to be reached, the Uni- 
versity must have undivided control, with the power 
to arrange and utilise all the hospital equipment so 
that there should be no waste. It had been more than 
once suggested that the extra-mural teachers in the 
Infirmary should become an integral part of the 
University system, so that the whole of the teaching 
and examining arrangements should be brought under 
one authority, and greater efficiency in this way ob- 
tained. To some, it appeared as if a fatal blow was 
about to be struck at the old tradition of the School — 
the strength which it derived from competitive teach- 
ing — but tradition too often spells an obstacle to 
reform, assuming a magnitude out of all proportion to 
its value. 

Turner took up the question of amalgamation, and 
pressed it through to a successful conclusion. It was 
one of the last reforms to which he directed his atten- 
tion, and it was a source of great satisfaction to him 
to see the machinery in working order before his 
death. The scheme had to be carefully considered. 
The patronage of appointments must be respected ; 
financial arrangements, as affecting the teachers, re- 
qun-ed readjustment, and a fresh expenditure upon 
equipment would necessarily come under considera- 
tion. Its preparation, however, received the cordial 
co-operation of the two bodies more immediately con- 
cerned — the University and the Board of Management 
of the Royal Infirmary. As the members of both 
Histitutions had the best interests of medical education 
at heart, the ground was already prepared, and diffi- 


culties in regard to the settlement of details, such as 
might have been found insuperable in the earlier 
history of the School, did not stand in the way of a 
satisfactory settlement in 1913. The Managers of the 
Infirmary, true to the traditions of their predecessors, 
willingly co-operated to maintain and strengthen the 
connection between the University and the Institution 
under their care, and a spirit of reciprocal conciliation 
characterised the direction of the meetings. 

A modified scheme of amalgamation between the 
two sides of the Surgical division of the hospital had 
been adopted in 1908, when two of the Ordinary 
Surgeons accepted appointments as University Lec- 
turers, and became responsible for a part of the exam- 
ination for the Degree. As this arrangement removed 
some of the difficulties which existed in clinical teach- 
ing, it naturally foreshadowed a more extended appli- 
cation of the principle to the entire hospital. In the 
autumn of 1912, Turner was appointed Chairman of a 
Committee of the University Court, with instructions 
to open up negotiations with the Infirmary authorities. 
The interests of the Infirmary were also entrusted to 
a Committee, presided over by Sir James Afileck, with 
Mr G. L. Crole as one of its active members. As 
Chairman of the Joint-Committees much of the work 
fell upon Turner's shoulders. 

The scheme of reorgfanisation included a rearranfje- 
ment of the Pathological Department of the Infirmary, 
by which the Professor of Pathology became Pathol- 
ogist to the hospital. His advice and assistance was 
thus placed at the disposal of the whole teaching staff. 
The instruction in Pathology in the University had 
been crippled and rendered less effective by the pre- 
vious separation of the two Departments, but it was 
now brouirht into line with that of most of the ffreat 
medical schools abroad, and of other universities in 
this country. Turner had looked forward for many 
years to an arrangement of this kind. When giving 
evidence before the Commission of Inquiry in 1876, he 


pleaded for an association between these two im- 
portant departments. "The difficulty that has to be 
overcome," he said, "lies in the two divisions of the 
Medical School into intra- and extra-mural. While 
the Professor of Pathology derives his material for 
illustration from the pathological theatre of the Royal 
Infirmary, by arrangement with the Managers, it 
would materially strengthen his Chair if he were also 
Pathologist to the Infirmary. But we could not ask 
that he should be made Pathologist to the whole of 
the hospital, because it has not only professors but 
extra-mural teachers associated with it, and we could 
hardly request that he should be Pathologist both to 
University and non-University wards. We might 
fairly ask that an arrangement should be made, by 
which the Professor should become Pathologist to the 
University wards, although I do not know that it 
would be acceptable to the Managers of the Infirmary, 
but I throw out the proposal as a matter for considera- 
tion." Thirty-six years later, the complete scheme, 
which he had in his mind at that time, was carried 
satisfactorily through. 

The changes in the departments of Medicine and 
Surgery included the appointment of a Professor of 
Clinical Medicine, to take charge of the wards pre- 
viously under the care of the Professor of Pathology. 
Thus the Moncrieff-Arnott Chair w^as founded, the 
origin of which we have already described.^ The 
Ordinary Physicians and Surgeons were appointed 
Senior University Lecturers and clinical examiners, 
while the Assistant Physicians and Surgeons became 
University Lecturers, and were to take a larger part in 
the clinical teaching than they had hitherto done. 
Tutors were appointed as University Clinical Assist- 
ants, to assist in training the students in the more 
elementary work, and in the work of the Out-patient 
Departments. Similar arrangements were made in 
connection with the special department reserved for 

1 Chapter XV. 


the treatment of the diseases of women. Special 
rooms in the Infirmary were provided with the equip- 
ment necessary for cHnical teaching, and were set 
apart for this purpose, the cost to be finally defrayed 
by the University, which was also to provide honoraria 
for the Assistant Physicians and Surgeons, and for 
the Tutors. The new status of the University Lec- 
turers did not interfere with their position in the 
Extra-Mural School, as they continued to teach the 
candidates preparing for the qualifying licences of the 
Royal Colleges, and were still at liberty to conduct 
classes on medicine and surgery outside the University. 
The question of conferring the title of Extraordinary 
Professor upon the senior ordinary Physicians and 
Surgeons was a matter which came under discussion, 
but the Court took Counsel's opinion as to the legality 
of adopting such a title. The opinion expressed by 
Counsel was to the effect that the University Court 
had no power to extend the class of University pro- 
fessor to the prejudice of the existing professoriate, by 
creating a new and anomalous class of professors, 
whose title was to be qualified with the prefix " Ex- 
traordinary." There was no such official known in the 
constitution of the Scottish Universities, and there 
was no provision make for appointing or defining the 
duties or status of such officials. 

A new arrangement was also made in connection 
with the patronage of appointments to the staff of the 
Royal Infirmary. Hitherto the applications for the 
honorary post of assistant physician and assistant 
surgeon had been made directly to the whole Board 
of Management, in whose hands lay the selection of 
the most suitable candidate for the vacancy. A 
Selection Committee of seven members was now 
formed, consisting of the two University representa- 
tives upon the Board, of one of the representatives of 
each of the Medical Corporations, and of three other 
members nominated by the whole Board. The func- 
tion of this Committee was to nominate two of the 


several candidates seeking election, and to submit 
their names to the Board for the selection of one of 
them for the appointment. The University thus came 
to have a more direct influence in the appointment of 
men who were to become members of the teaching 
staff of the School. 

The Agreement between the University Court and 
the Managers of the Royal Infirmary was signed by 
Turner, on behalf of the Court, on July 14, 1913. It 
marked the second of the two milestones in the his- 
tory of medical education contemporaneous with his 
life in Edinburgh. The stone which bore the figures indicated the commencement of a path lead- 
ing to increased activity and usefulness in extra- 
mural teaching. That which displayed the ciphers recorded the commencement of the broad 
highway, destined to lead to greater efficiency, and 
to the promotion of the larger interests of the whole 
School of Medicine in Edinburgh — interests which 
must be maintained in the future, as in the past, by 
all who are its well-wishers. One of the members of 
the Infirmary Committee,^ who was largely respon- 
sible for the efficient presentation of the hospital posi- 
tion, and for guiding it through the negotiations, has 
thus expressed the impression left upon his mind by 
his association with Turner. " He was a man with 
whom it was a pleasure and an education to work. 
To the very end he retained a young mind, which 
was always receptive of whatever was deemed best 
for the University. He was ready to grasp new ideas 
and to take fresh views ; if at first, he was antago- 
nistic, he did not cling to his opposition, because his 
original ideas were contrary to the suggestions which 
were put before him. But after listening to a rea- 
soned statement of the advantages which they would 
bring, he thought them out and willingly accepted 
them, when he saw that they led to improvements 
in the existing conditions." 

1 SheriflF G. L. Crole. 


By thus placing all the members of the staff" upon 
an equality as University teachers, and by increasing 
the number of examiners, the necessary steps were 
taken to effect a practical solution of the weak points 
in hospital education. One factor in the situation, 
which was somewhat more difficult to bring under the 
control of regulations, was left unchanged. The free 
choice of teacher by the student was a question fre- 
quently in Turner's mind during the negotiations, and 
his sympathies were undoubtedly in favour of main- 
taining the principle. The personality of the indi- 
vidual and his gift of exposition must always have 
their influence in directing the student towards his 
selection of an instructor. In a larcr© medical school 
it is difficult to obtain a uniformly high level 
throuorhout the whole staff". It is an ideal which is 
hardly attainable : hence, the human equation remains 
as an important factor in any scheme that may be 
devised. A strict limitation of the size of the clinics 
could be made a matter of regulation, and such an 
arrangement, if considered necessary, might at any 
future time be determined upon. The fear so often 
expressed that the new scheme would strike a blow 
at healthy competition, scarcely seemed to be justified. 
The large number of teachers engaged in clinical in- 
struction, and the greater facilities which it gave to 
the junior members of the staff", provided ample scope 
for friendly and co-operative eff"ort within the Univer- 
sity herself, so that there should be nothing to debar 
each individual from obtaining experience in teaching, 
and from giving of his best in the common interests 
of the whole School of Medicine. 

2 c 




Origin of the IS'ew Medical School — The site — Public response to 
the appeal — Opening of the Anatomical Department — Ter- 
centenary Festival, 1884 — The Anatomical Museum — The 
M'Ewan Hall — Opening ceremony — New Departments of 
Engineering and Natural Philosophy — Mr Andrew Carnegie 
opens the Departments — A Degree and Department of Forestry 
— New Chemistry Department. 

The increase in the number of students from all parts 
of the world, the expansion of the educational system 
within the walls of the University, as seen in the 
augmentation of the teaching staff and in the addition 
of new subjects in the various curricula, especially in 
connection with the introduction of practical instruc- 
tion in science, caused the sap to flow more generously 
through the veins of the parent stem, stimulating it 
to fresh growth, and to the development of young and 
vigorous offshoots. 

We must, therefore, carry the reader back to 
Turner's early professorial days, and show how 
intimately he was connected with the work of Uni- 
versity extension, and how much his influence and his 
energies were directed to furthering its progress. 
Once again we see the milestones which marked his 
entrance to, and exit from, academic life, recording 


a definite stage In the material expansion of the life- 
history of the Medical School. The inception of the 
great scheme of the University Buildings' extension 
synchronised with his appointment to the Anatomical 
Chair, while its completion, if such a term, indeed, 
can be applied to the onward march of progress, 
reached a definite goal, hitherto unattained, when 
he laid down his office as Principal. 

When Sir Alexander Grant succeeded Brewster as 
Vice-Chancellor in 1868, he found that a movement 
was being initiated by his colleagues in the Senatus, 
with a view to providing a much-needed extension 
of the accommodation, which was rapidly proving 
quite insufficient to cope with the demands being 
made upon it. The history of the University was, 
indeed, repeating itself Exactly a century earlier the 
condition of the buildings was far from satisfactory, 
and a similar movement had been started in Edin- 
burgh with the object of removing what was con- 
sidered to be a disgrace to the capital. In a memorial 
issued by Principal Robertson in 1769, we read: "A 
stranger, when conducted to view the University of 
Edinburgh, might on seeing the courts and buildings 
naturally enough imagine them to be almshouses for 
the reception of the poor, but would never imagine 
that he was entering within the precincts of a noted 
and flourishing seat of learning. With the exception 
of one large upper gallery, which has lately been 
repaired and made the public library, and of an 
anatomical theatre, there is no room or building 
belonging to the University that has any degree of 
academical decency. The teaching rooms of the Pro- 
fessors are, in general, mean, straitened, and incon- 
venient." Under the Provostship of George Drum- 
mond, city improv^ements had been made and were 
still being pushed on; "large buildings arising sud- 
denly on all hands, a magnificent bridge, and new 
streets and srjuares begun." But the University 
fabric remained in a neglected state, and was gener- 


ally accounted a dishonour to Edinburgh. A sub- 
scription list was opened, and although only £6500 
was asked for from the public at first, the response 
to the appeal was not encouraging. A private Act 
passed by Parliament in 1785, giving powers for the 
construction of the South Bridge over the Cowgate, 
included the appointment of Trustees for the purpose 
of designing and creating new University buildings, 
but the foundation-stone of the Adam-Playfair edifice 
was not laid on the South Bridge until 1789, the event 
being celebrated amidst great pomp and ceremony. 

In 1868, the desire for improvement and extension 
was the natural outcome of the pressing demands that 
were being made upon the limited accommodation, and 
upon the necessity of placing the University on an 
equality with the other great centres both at home and 
abroad. During the century which had elapsed, Scot- 
land had made great material progress. The develop- 
ment of railways and the growth of commerce ; the 
increase of wealth, the spread of education, and the 
improved position which the people had attained by 
reason of their educational advantages, along with the 
growing importance of Science as the New Knowledge 
which was beginning to make its influence felt, rendered 
imperative the taking of some decisive step. 

Grant at once threw all his energies into the move- 
ment, and under his guiding hand steps were taken to 
place the scheme upon a practical basis. It was felt 
that if the different departments in the Medical 
Faculty, which had the strongest claims for assistance, 
were provided for in new buildings, their requirements 
could be sufficiently met, and the Faculties of Arts, 
Law, and Divinity would find room for expansion in 
the premises thus vacated. The need for a Hall of 
Assembly was also a very pressing one, and this was 
included as a part of the original extension scheme, 
along with a Campanile to crown the edifice. A Pro- 
visional Committee was formed in 1869, with Sir 
Alexander Grant as its Convener, and Turner as one 


of its active members, while his friend, Robert Bruce 
Johnston, a well-known Writer to the Signet in the 
city, became the chief Acting Secretary. The original 
estimate for the above plans amounted to a sum of 

Unfortunately, the moment was not favourable for 
making an appeal for subscriptions from the com- 
munity, and at a meeting of citizens held in 1869, 
it was decided that, for a time at least, the public 
project should be abandoned. A. considerable drain 
had just been made upon the resources of the people 
in raising the funds for the new Royal Infirmary, 
therefore it was deemed wiser to wait for a more 
auspicious moment before floating another subscrip- 
tion list. In the meantime, however, a great deal 
of useful work was overtaken, and a sufficient sum of 
money was raised by private endeavour to enable the 
University to purchase the Park Place and Teviot 
Row sites in close proximity to the new hospital. 

The problem of extending the original University 
buildings was one which presented considerable diffi- 
culties, situated as they were in the centre of the 
city, and surrounded by property of no little value. 
At one time in their history, an extensive area of 
unoccupied land lay to the west of the old buildings 
and was the property of the University, and the 
Commissioners under the Universities (Scotland) Act 
of 1828 had endeavoured to add to it by acquiring 
a further extension of the ground westward. If this 
object had been attained, the whole of the south side 
of the Chambers Street of to-day, from South P)ridge 
Street to Lindsay Place, might have been occupied by 
a compact mass of University buildings. But, in 1854, 
the College had been deprived of the piece of ground 
which originally belonged to it, through an arrange- 
ment made between the Government and the Town 
Council, by which the vacant site was ap])ropriated 
for the erection of the National Museum of Science 
and Art, the building of which was commenced in 


1860. In 1869, the Senatus first made au offer for 
the ground, which had just been vacated by the 
transference of the old Infirmary to its new position 
in Lauriston. The offer, however, was declined, and 
probably no one has regretted it, as the situation 
finally selected in Teviot Row and Park Place for the 
Medical School enjoys, both in its proximity to the 
Infirmary and in its more open surroundings, advan- 
tages such as it could not have had in the Drummond 
Street area. 

With the demolition of the Park Place houses, 
another relic of one of the old-time fashionable parts 
of the city of a century ago disappeared. George 
Square alone remained in that neighbourhood as 
picturesque evidence of an old residential quarter, 
with its memories of Sir Walter Scott, of Henry 
Erskine, whose brilliant talents had placed him at 
the head of the Scottish bar, of Robert Dundas, the 
Lord Chief Baron, and of others, who figured pro- 
minently in the life of the city at the beginning of 
the nineteenth century. What had the future in 
store for the secluded amenity of the old Square ! 
With a prosperous Medical School growing up in such 
close proximity to it, could ii hope to escape the trans- 
forming hand of the builder? As we write, just half 
a century later, the inevitable has occurred, and the 
parent tree has already pushed out a fresh offshoot, 
and is gradually establishing new roots in other corners 
of George Square.^ Although the buildings in Park 
Place, at the time of their removal, had been for many 
years tenement houses, one, at least, had been the 
domicile of the Campbells of Succoth, and once the 
residence of Sir Hay Campbell, Lord President of 
the Court of Session, while in close proximity to it 
was the home of the Taits of Harvieston, where 
Archibald Campbell Tait, Archbishop of Canterbury, 
was born, a fact which remains memorialised for all 

^ 1 The Forestry Department occupies part of the north side of the 
Square, and the University has acquired several houses on the south side. 


time by the mural tablet which has been placed in 
the eastern wall of the New Medical School. 

In addressing the graduates in the summer of 
1873, Turner said: "If time had permitted, I would 
have taken this opportunity of directing attention 
to the wants of the University, more especially the 
urgent need that exists for more and larger 
class-rooms, for a new museum, for laboratories, and 
for rooms in which an efficient system of prac- 
tical instruction in all the departments of medical 
science may be carried on. To put this school of 
medicine on a level, not only with other universities 
but with newer institutions springing up in several 
large cities, to enable us to keep our place in the 
great education race, it is essential that these should 
be provided without delay. That our University 
should not lose its position as the largest school of 
medicine in the British Empire, as the institution in 
which a thorough medical education can be imparted, 
is a matter which interests not only us who are im- 
mediately concerned in teaching, but the citizens of 
Edinburgh generally. For not to speak of the advan- 
tages which accrue to the city from being a great 
educational centre, attracting young men and families 
from all parts of the world for purposes of study, it 
is surely of the utmost importance to the inhabitants 
themselves to have at their own doors an institu- 
tion capable of providing their sons with a complete 
scientific and practical professional training." In 
many of the cities in Germany large sums of money 
were being expended upon the building and equip- 
ment of laboratories. Oxford had just completed her 
Museum, largely through the untiring efforts of Henry 
Acland and George Rolleston, and Cambridge was 
following in her footsteps. In Manchester, Leeds, 
and Newcastle, Colleges of Science were approaching 
completion, and the citizens of Glasgow were adding 
materially to the resources of their University. 

In Edinburgh, the conditions under which much of 


the teaching was being carried out in the early seven- 
ties was far from satisfactory. The Professor of 
Pathology had to lecture in a room which was used 
one hour before by the Professor of Moral Philosophy, 
and one hour after he had left by the Professor of 
Geology. Turner was in a constant state of despair 
as to how he was to accommodate his class of more 
than four hundred men. Lyon Playfair has described 
his chemical laboratory in the sixties as a dingy hope- 
less place, little more than a private room, in which 
the professor and his assistant could prepare the class 
experiments, while Tait's physical laboratory was a 
kind of superior attic, in which even a few^ students 
were inconveniently crowded. One marvels that so 
much good work was done under such poor conditions, 
but we have already described how, in the history of 
scientific research in Edinburgh, the men in the 
past were not deterred by the shabby state of their 

At a largely attended public meeting held in the 
Queen Street Hall on April 6th, 1874, the extension 
scheme was launched, and an appeal was made to 
raise £100,000, a very different sum from the modest 
amount asked for in 1768. Of this, £58,000 had 
already been obtained by private subscription, which 
included the legacy of £20,000 from Sir David 
Baxter of Kilmaron, whose generosity to the Uni- 
versity had not been confined to this act alone. The 
movement was strongly supported by the Duke of 
Buccleuch, who was the principal speaker at the 
meeting, and whose practical assistance and great 
influence must always be associated with the origin 
of the New Medical School. The University through 
her past reputation had deservedly earned the sym- 
pathy of the people of Scotland. If she were not 
rich enough to make her own w^ay without asking 
for assistance, it was scarcely her fault. What she 
had accomplished so successfully in the past had 

1 Chapter VII, 


been done in spite of her poverty, and she had no 
reason to feel ashamed in asking for means in order 
to extend her sphere of usefuhiess. Her founder, 
King James VI,, had failed to endow her, so that 
the youngest of Scotland's Universities was also the 
poorest. " Had the King followed the example of 
his own Court jeweller, George Heriot, things might 
have been very different to-day. Had King and 
commoner, the royal borrower and the shrewd lender, 
changed places, or indeed have exchanged ideas, we 
might have seen the two institutions, the University 
and George Heriot's Hospital, the one for the higher, 
the other for the lower education, co-operating with 
results which it will take years of begging, if not 
legislation, to bring about. Heriot's Hospital School, 
from its original endowment alone, possesses an income 
almost equal to the whole revenue of the University, 
which is now educating more than two thousand 
students, and benefiting the city proportionately." ^ 

The response to the appeal was not made by the 
wealthy alone, but, coming as it did from the Uni- 
versity of the people to the people themselves, rich 
and poor, nobleman and commoner alike responded. 
All creeds and professions, businesses and trades, 
played their part in answering to the call. The 
Press exerted its powerful influence on its behalf. 
While the city, supported by the action of successive 
Lord Provosts, first awakened to its duty, the move- 
ment spread throughout Scotland, thence to England, 
and to the furthest possessions of the Em})ire and 
beyond it, wherever, indeed, Scotsmen were found 
who were keenlv interested in the success of their 
Alma Mater. No sum was considered too small for 
acceptance, and steadily, if slowly, the subscription 
list grew until £80,000 had been received. 

Sir Alexander Grant, in addressing the students at 
the commencement of the winter session of 1875, thus 
picturesquely described the efforts of his CV>niniittee : 

' Writer in the 'Daily Heview,' 1874. 


" The collection of a large subscription is like ascend- 
ing an alpine height. We commence with the rich 
meadows and easy slopes, but we soon leave these 
behind, and find ourselves continually in a more 
and more rarefied atmosphere, in a more bleak and 
barren region. Greater exertions are required as we 
go on, and the results are less. At the same time, our 
views become more moderate and our appreciation of 
any assistance more lively." The Acting Committee 
was constantly at work, and Turner was fond of re- 
lating some of his experiences, not only in raising 
money, but also in arousing enthusiasm in the in- 
terests of the University. Sometimes, during his 
visits to London to attend the meetings of the 
General Medical Council, he would, in company with 
his friend Sir George Harrison, Lord Provost, person- 
ally interview some wealthy magnate, before whom it 
was thought advisable to place the needs of the Uni- 
versity. No little tact had frequently to be displayed, 
and, in some cases, an exercise of the sense of humour, 
which both men possessed, led to a successful result, 
when perhaps little or nothing had been expected. 
On one occasion an interview took place in the City 
with a wealthy Aberdonian, which seemed at first 
likely to end in failure, the gentleman expressing 
the opinion that he did not see that Edinburgh's 
interests had any particular claim upon him. But 
to this Sir George replied, that the alliance between 
the two cities was much closer than he appeared to 
realise, as he could assure him that some of the finest 
physical types in Edinburgh's police force were the 
men recruited from the northern city. This appeal 
found its way to the heart, if not to the head, and 
they left the house with a substantial addition to 
the funds of the extension scheme in their pockets. 
In the summer of 1876, when a sum of £82,000 
had been raised, a decision was reached that an 
appeal should be made to the Treasury for further 
assistance. Grant, Turner, and Bruce Johnston 


joiued a deputation which interviewed Mr Disraeli, 
who was then Prime Minister. A sympathetic hear- 
ing was given to their claims, and, in due course, a 
memorial was addressed to the Chancellor of the 
Exchequer, asking for a grant of £80,000, to be 
paid in four annual instalments. While the Lords 
of the Treasury were prepared to ask Parliament to 
give this sum, certain restrictions were imposed in 
connection with its bestowal. They suggested a 
reduction in the contemplated expenditure, so long 
as it was consistent with the provision of the neces- 
sary accommodation and equipment for teaching ; 
they asked that a further sum of £10,000 should 
be raised by public subscription, before they placed 
the first instalment of £20,000 in the estimates for 
the year, and that, before the second instalment was 
provided, the whole of the remainder of the funds re- 
quired for the completion of the buildings should have 
been subscribed or promised. 

The somewhat strinij:ent conditions which were 
thus imposed were accepted by the University, but 
not without much heart-burning. The original plans 
had to be readjusted, and with great regret and 
reluctance that portion of the scheme which included 
the erection of the Hall and the Campanile, and 
certain improvements contemplated upon the exist- 
ing University buildings, were deleted. The long- 
desired and much-needed Academic Hall faded still 
further into the distant future. The change in the 
estimates now adopted left a proposed expenditure 
of £187,500. But by no means daunted, the Com- 
mittee redoubled its efforts ; another public meeting 
was arranged, and within a few days all apprehen- 
sions were allayed : £10,500 were at once raised, and 
the first instalment of the Government Grant was 
assured, and before the second became due, the 
remainder of the sum had been obtained.^ 

' Pio|>(>se(l expenditure, £187,.'300 ; .suliscrijitions olitaiiioH, over 
£82,000 ; Parliamentary Grant, £80,000 ; baliince obtainetl, i:25,500. 


Towards the close of the year 1877, the University 
authorities felt that they were justified in commencing 
building operations. The work was pushed rapidly on. 
The plans for each department had already been 
prepared by the Professors in charge, and had been 
submitted to the leading architects in the city, with 
a request for a design that would most suitably meet 
the requirements which had been suggested. After 
careful consideration, Mr Anderson's (afterwards Sir 
Rowand Anderson) plans were accepted, as they 
appeared to fulfil most satisfactorily all the condi- 
tions. He left no stone unturned to procure the 
best and latest information in connection with educa- 
tional buildings, personally visiting the most import- 
ant schools of medicine in this country and on the 
Continent, so as to acquaint himself by direct ob- 
servation with their special needs. 

By the autumn of 1880, the Anatomical Department 
was ready, and Turner had the satisfaction of being 
able to commence the winter session in his new 
premises. In his opening address, on that occasion, 
he said : " In celebrating the accomplishment of the 
first stage of the great task of providing new build- 
ings for the accommodation of the Faculty of Medicine, 
we may congratulate ourselves upon entering into the 
occupation of apartments which, in their spaciousness 
and in the convenience of the arrangements which they 
provide, for the purposes for which they are designed, 
are unsurpassed in the British Empire. How v/ell 
the architect has accomplished his task an inspection 
of the rooms devoted to anatomical teaching and 
study will show you, and you will not fail to see 
that he has set this and the other departments in 
a casket of stone, of which the University may feel 
proud to be the possessors, which is an ornament to 
the city and a witness to the truth of the saying that 
' A thing of beauty is a joy for ever.' " 

It was becoming increasingly evident, however, 
during the further progress of completing the 


buildings, that this would not be accomplished un- 
less another call for funds was made. The conditions 
in the school had changed considerably during the 
nine years which had elapsed since the extension 
movement had been launched. The internal require- 
ments of the various medical departments had been 
planned and estimated for upon a basis which was 
deemed suiBcient to meet a normal rate of expan- 
sion. But, during this period, the increase in the 
number of students coming to the University ex- 
ceeded all expectations, and was indeed unparalleled 
in the history of any modern seat of learning. Be- 
tween 1874 and 1883, the students in the Faculty 
of Medicine had nearly doubled — the numbers having 
risen from 900 to over 1700. The matriculated 
students in all the Faculties had increased during 
the same period from 2000 to 3340. Under 
these new conditions some of the medical depart- 
ments were found to have outgrown the demands 
which were expected to be made upon them before 
they had been occupied. Increased accommodation 
had in consequence to be provided, and the rooms 
enlarged in every conceivable way. Some parts of 
the building were pulled down and rebuilt ; while 
in some of the lecture - rooms, the galleries, which 
form so conspicuous and not altogether a pleasing 
feature, had to be introduced in order to give a 
requisite number of seats. 

In March 1883, a "Tercentenary Appeal" for an 
additional sum of £30,000 was accordingly issued, 
so as to complete the necessary alterations, and to 
equip the large Anatomical Museum, in order that 
the Medical School might be in working order 
before the Festival of 1884. The appeal met with 
a ready response : the people of Scotland were not 
to be denied the success of their efforts, and, by 
the beginning of June, the necessary sum had been 
raised. After many years of untiring endeavour on 
the part of those who had worked unceasingly for 


the accomplishment of this end, the University and 
the public were rewarded by the completion of the 
New Medical School. 

The Tercentenary celebrations, in April 1884, offered 
a suitable opportunity for its inauguration, and a 
lancheon in the Anatomical Museum, to which the 
University invited 450 of her guests, was not the 
least interesting event in a week crowded with 
so many historic ceremonies. It must have been 
with feelings of justifiable pride in the successful 
completion of his labours that Principal Sir Alexander 
Grant, who presided on that occasion, rose to propose 
". The Donors of the New Building." 

It was by no foresight or calculation that the two events 
which we celebrate to-day have coincided. But it has for- 
tunately so happened, by a lucky chance, that we are able 
to see this house-warming so brilliantly attended and graced 
by the presence of some of the greatest medical authorities 
in the world. I hope that they may find leisure to inspect 
our New Medical School. And I hope also, that our non- 
medical guests may take a look at these bright and airy 
theatres and laboratories, where all that is repulsive in the 
study of medicine is mitigated and refined — where the dis- 
secting-room shows like a conservatory, and where morbid 
pathology is pursued as a fine art. When they see all the 
charms of this palace of medicine, perhaps they too may 
wish that they had been students of medicine. 

No careful planning could have arranged a more 
fitting ceremony for the inauguration of the School 
than what this " lucky chance " had provided. If 
the presence of so many illustrious men famous in 
science and in law, in literature and in art, were 
to be taken as an earnest of its future success, then 
indeed a prosperous career lay before it. Science in 
its various branches had many notable representatives 
seated round the tables. Pasteur and Virchow, the 
founders of the modern doctrine of bacteriology 
and pathology; von Pettenkofer and Schmiedeberg, 


chemists and physiologists ; Lord Rayleigh, William 
Thomson (Lord Kelvin), and von Helmholtz in the 
realm of physics ; Sir William Gull, Sir William 
Jenner, and Sir Henry Acland, the physicians ; 
Lister and Paget, Oilier and Thomas Keith, the lead- 
ing exponents of surgery. Law was graced by the 
presence of Count Satifi of Bologna and of Sir 
James Stephen, jurist and legislator. Literature by 
Browning, James Russel Lowell, James Bryce (Lord 
Bryce), Benjamin Jowett, and Max Miiller ; art by 
Sir Frederick Leighton ; while in the person of Comte 
Ferdinand de Lesseps, whose genius had linked the 
East with the West, international commerce had its 
leading representative. 

It was Turner's privilege on that occasion, alike 
on account of the active part which he had taken 
in the work of preparation, and as befitting the 
ceremony held in his own Department, to propose 
the "Sister Medical Schools." 

To them we owe a deep indebtedness. It was in London 
and in some of the great schools on the Continent that the 
founders of our medical school in the early part of last 
century received their training. It is, however, to the great 
University of Leyden, to which at that time so many young 
Scotsmen were attracted by the fame of Boerhaave, both as a 
physician and as a teacher, that we must especially look as 
a nursing- mother. So great, indeed, was her influence that 
the regulations which prevailed in that University as to 
the examinations and the mode of conferring degi'ees were 
adopted in Edinburgh with but slight modifications, and the 
' Aphorisms ' and ' Institutiones Medica3 ' of Boerhaave were 
the text-books which controlled the teaching of medicine for 
nearly forty years in tliis University, until the spell was 
broken by the genius of William CuUen. But our iridebtcd- 
ness to our medical sisters is not limited to those early 
passages in our history. Our senior students and young 
graduates have always been encouraged to broaden their 
education, to increase their knowledge of men and things 
by a residence at other great centres of professional train- 
ing. And let us hope that that practice may long continue. 
If I were to paint a picture of a "Scot abroad,' I should 


not depict liim, as has often been done, as a soldier of fortune, 
or a wandering philosopher ready to enter into disputation 
with any comer on some abstruse metaphysical and ethical 
problem, but as a young doctor hard at work in the wards 
of a hospital in London or Dublin, or a great city on the 
Continent, or advancing his knowledge of medical science 
by working in the laboratory of a University. 

But if we owe much in our origin and development to the 
influence of our medical sisters, we, as time has rolled on, 
have in some measure been able to repay them in kind. 
The great reputation which this school acquired in the 
latter half of the last century, through the genius and 
labours of the second Monro, of Whytt, Cullen, Gregory, 
and Black, attracted to this northern city students from 
all quarters, so that the medical school assumed a cosmo- 
politan character. And as our young graduates returned 
to their homes and native countries, many of them became 
connected with existing medical schools or founded new 
ones. Thus, the cosmopolitan character which was stamped 
on the school by the genius of our predecessors has never 
been lost. 

Amidst this wealth of intellect and medical fame, it may 
seem difficult to select from these our guests one more than 
another to respond to this toast; but we, the professorial 
descendants of the first Monro and his colleagues, may be 
pardoned, perhaps, for looking to the country of Boerhaave 
and Albinus, our mother in medicine, and to select one of 
the distinguished men now holding a Chair in a University of 
Holland. The reputation which the Universities of Holland 
attained during the last century has been sustained during 
the present. I need only mention, amongst those who in 
recent years "have gone over to the majority," the names 
of Vrolilc the anatomist, van der Hoeven the naturalist, and 
van der Kolk the physician. But Holland has still in her 
Universities men of European fame. Donders, one of the 
great scientific personages of Europe, whose unavoidable 
absence from our festival we greatly deplore, now adorns 
the University of Utrecht. We are happy to have with 
us to-day representatives of the Universities of Leyden, 
Utrecht, Groningen, and Amsterdam, and of these I will ask 
Professor Stokvis to reply. 

How changed is now the scene of that historic 
banquet ! It remains but as an indistinct memory 
in the minds of those who were fortunate enough 


to be present. Gone are the brilliant decorations, 
the trappings of white and blue which adorned the 
walls ; gone are the plants and flowers which lent 
so much colour to the picture ; gone too, with few 
exceptions, are the men of eminence who graced the 
ceremony with their presence. 

The furnishiniT and Httini^ of the Museum for its 
own particular purpose, and the arrangement and 
cataloguing of its many thousand contents, was a 
labour of love, to the completion of which Turner 
devoted many years of his life, and endless thought 
and attention. Accompanied by one of his sons, he 
again visited Germany and inspected the new build- 
ings of the University of Strasburg, which were in 
process of completion, and he spent more than on© 
day in the anatomical department at Leipzig, study- 
ing the arrangements which had recently been intro- 
duced there by the distinguished anatomist, Professor 
His. In conjunction with Sir Rowand Anderson and 
Mr Allan Clark, the Clerk of Works, he considered, to 
the minutest detail, the best method of displaying to 
full advantage all the hidden treasures which had 
accumulated, from year to year, as the outcome of the 
work of the Monros, Goodsir, and himself, and which, 
through lack of proper accommodation, it had hitherto 
been found impossible to exhibit. 

The Museum, an essential factor in the teaching 
of anatomy, pathology, and surgery, occupies the 
central block between the two coiu-ts or quadrangles 
contained within the main walls of the new buildings, 
and it forms a spacious hall, well adapted to the })ur- 
pose for wliich it was intended. The nucleus of its 
contents had been created by the first Monro, wlio 
had transferred his valuable preparations to the 
University, when tiie Edinburgh mol) had threatened 
to burn down the College of Surgeons. In the hands 
of Monro secundus, the collection grew in accordance 
with his work, and was enriched by many specimens 
of great value, illustrative of his manipulative dex- 

2 D 


terlty. The contributions which were made by Monro 
tertius, were more of a pathological character, but 
with the advent of John Goodsir, and his enthusiasm 
for the study of comparative anatomy, an extensive 
series of dissections, both of the invertebrate and 
vertebrate kingdoms, was added. Goodsir sought to 
establish in Edinburgh what John Hunter had suc- 
ceeded in founding in London, a great museum. In 
Turner's hands, there gradually grew that striking 
collection of human crania and the varied assortment 
of skeletons of whales and dolphins and other am- 
phibious mammals, illustrative of most of the varieties 
obtained in Scottish waters. The museum will remain 
for future generations as a splendid record of the 
scientific labours of the illustrious anatomists whose 
work it displays. Si monumentum requiris, circum- 

In the autumn of 1884, Sir Alexander Grant died 
after a brief illness, and the Acting Committee of the 
Buildings' Extension Scheme was deprived of the wise 
counsel and valuable services of its energetic convener. 
He had devoted himself with uutirino^ effort to the 
accomplishment of the great undertaking, the funds 
for which were raised largely through his personal 
exertions and influence. In the words of Sir William 
Muir, his successor as Principal, " the University had 
to mourn the loss of one who, by his pre-eminent 
culture and his genial temperament, not less than by 
his wise administration, attracted the regard of all 
around him. His singular amenity and gracious 
courtesy threw their charm about the Tercentenary 
Festival, which owed so much of its success to him." 

Although the Medical School, finally completed, 
was handed over to the Senatus Academicus in 1885, 
the work of the Acting Committee was not yet at 
an end. The Academic Hall, the dream of the 
University for so many years, had yet to be built. 


The need for it was as great, if not greater, than at 
any previous time in her history. Turner was ap- 
pointed Convener in succession to Grant, and became 
the dominating influence upon the Committee. Mr 
Wilham M'Ewan, M.P., was added to its member- 
ship, and on the death of Mr Bruce Johnston the 
secretarial work was entrusted to Mr George Somer- 
ville. Financially, the outlook was far from favour- 
able, and it seemed wellnigh hopeless to expect that 
the public would contribute a sum sufficient for the 
erection of the hall. During a period covering nearly 
twenty years, considerable calls had been made upon 
its generosity in connection with the School of 
Medicine, because the new Infirmary, though erected 
primarily for the treatment of the sick poor, never- 
theless formed an integral part of the School. 

But the cloud of depression which weighed heavily 
upon the minds of those who were seeking a solution 
of the pecuniary difficulty had its silver lining, and 
the shadow which it cast was soon to be dispelled. 
One member of the Committee, Mr M'Ewan, already 
a liberal contributor to the building fund, could not 
reconcile himself to a situation which left unfinished 
a piece of work which had been so successfully com- 
menced. He regarded it as unseemly that the 
University should require to borrow, or to hire, halls 
in diff'erent parts of the city for the purpose of con- 
ducting its academic ceremonies. It fell to Turner 
to announce to the public in December 1885, that a 
friend of the University, desirous for a time to remain 
anonymous, had signified his intention of defraying 
the cost of the erection of a hall. In acknowledging 
Mr M'Ewan's generosity, he wrote : " I duly received 
your favour of yesterday, communicating your inten- 
tion in connection with the completion of the New 
Buildings of the University. I need scarcely say 
that this additional and most munificent expression 
of your goodwill to our University will be warmly 
appreciated by all who are interested in its welfare 


and progress. I understand, however, that at the 
present stage you do not wish the matter to be 
made public, and accordingly I must content myself 
by thanking you in my own name for the generous 

When Mr M'Ewan's intentions had been made 
known, steps were immediately taken to acquire the 
property and houses in Park Street, situated immedi- 
ately to the east of the Medical Buildings, and an 
Act of Parliament was obtained giving Sir William 
Muir, Sir William Turner, Mr William M'Ewan, and 
Mr John Christison, the four Trustees, power to effect 
the purchase and to hold the lands and property until 
the building was completed. The original estimate 
of the hall was calculated at forty to fifty thousand 
pounds, while the cost of the site was £12,000. An 
appeal was made to the Treasury to provide the 
latter sum, and to include it in the estimates for the 
current year. The negotiations which ensued for 
this purpose were both difficult and protracted. The 
Government appeared to be in a particularly economi- 
cal frame of mind, and it required all the influence 
and assistance of the friends of the University to 
urge upon the Chancellor of the Exchequer the im- 
portance of responding to the appeal. It was not 
until the spring of 1887, that the matter was finally 
adjusted, the Government agreeing to give £8000 
towards the cost of the property, the remaining 
£4000 being contributed by Mr M'Ewan. Turner 
was warmly congratulated by his friends upon the 
successful result of his etibrts to carry through the 
negotiations. " Dear Sir William, excellent indeed ! " 
wrote Professor S. H. Butcher. " You deserve bound- 
less thanks ; most heartily I congratulate you — as 
well as ourselves — on the long and delicate negotia- 
tions you have brought to so happy an end. Any 
one but yourself would have gfiven in lono- before 
reacnnig this stage. 

During the ten years which were occupied with 


the construction of the M'Ewan Hall, Turner watched 
over its growth with almost parental solicitude. The 
period was perhaps the busiest of his busy life. It was 
no light task that he had taken upon his shoulders, 
in guiding the often stumbling footsteps of the child, 
and in assisting it out of many difficulties until full 
manhood was attained. But in this, as in other 
matters to which he applied himself, he mastered 
many of the details of the business. He made himself 
acquainted with the problems of architectural design, 
he faced the difficulties connected with ventilation 
and lighting, and the knowledge of such matters 
which he revealed, when they became the subjects 
of discussion, excited the wonder, as well as the 
admiration, of those who had made the study of such 
affairs their life's avocation. The various claims of 
architect, builder, and artist were sometimes opposed 
to each other, and patience and a power of concilia- 
tion were required to adjust difficulties. Throughout 
the whole of this period. Turner was closely in touch 
with Mr M'Ewan, who gave unwearying attention 
to every detail, who spared no pains, and who refused 
nothing that would add to the usefulness or to the 
beauty of the building, which gradually took shape 
in accordance with Sir Rowand Anderson's design. 
The hall which Mr M'Ewan originally had offered 
to provide exclusively for University purposes, at a 
cost approaching £50,000, slowly assumed in his mind 
a wider significance. He did not forget that the city, 
with which the University had been associated for 
three centuries, and whose interests were identical, 
had no hall of sufficient size available for public 
functions in which the citizens generally were in- 
terested. With this further object in his mind, he 
improved and enlarged his scheme, and finally com- 
pleted it at a cost of .£115,000. Both in the dignity 
of its architecture and in the completeness and ele- 
gance of its internal decoration, the M'Ewan Hall 
stands as an edifice which the Universitv and the 


city may justly regard with pride. One part of the 
ori^^iual design of the Medical School remains un- 
finfshed. The Campanile has yet to rise and crown 
the building. 

Friday, December 3rd, 1897, was a red-letter day 
in the history of the University. The donor of the 
hall, in the name of the Trustees, handed it over 
to the Chancellor, Mr A. J. Balfour, as the head of 
the University, and he himself received the Honorary 
Degree of Doctor of Laws, the highest dignity which 
was in the power of the University to bestow upon 
him. " How better may the academic polity carry 
home to her citizens the lesson of the larger citizen- 
ship which awaits them beyond her walls, than by 
holding before them the example of one who, w^hile 
he unstintingly devotes his manifold gifts to the 
service of his own generation, has by a noble use 
of the fruits of his industry and wisdom bequeathed 
to future generations a splendid and perpetual pos- 
session." ^ 

" I believe," said Mr Balfour, in accepting the deed 
of conveyance, " that the educational value of a worthy 
setting to a great University is not to be despised. 
Tradition clings round our buildings. The immaterial 
is indissolubly united with the material. Together, 
they contribute to form part of that most valuable 
result of academic training, the love with which those 
who have been academically trained look back to 
the freshest, to the brightest, and the most plastic 
period of their lives. You have earned the gratitude, 
Mr M'Ewan, of the present generation of students 
and of all those interested in or connected with the 
University ; but I think I can promise you that 
the gratitude of the University will not end with 
the lives of those I am now addressing. If history 
teaches us anything about the conditions of University 
life, it is that a University once founded is possessed 
of a wonderfully persistent vitality. Political revolu- 

^ Sir Ludovic Grant in presenting Mr M'Ewan for the LL.D. Degree. 


tions, military revolutions, theological revolutions pass 
over it and leave it still what it was before — a great 
centre of enlightenment, a great source of knowledge 
and of education. Nay, the Universities have not 
survived these revolutions only, but they have even, 
though sometimes with difficulty, shown themselves 
capable of modifying themselves to suit the advance 
of knowledge. This danger, and all other dangers, 
have been survived by almost every one of the old 
Universities of Europe, and I think we may there- 
fore, without undue confidence, anticipate that the 
University of Edinburgh will, for many ages to come, 
be all that it has been, to Edinburgh, to Scotland, 
and to the world ; and though the time may come, 
nay, though the time must come, when our present 
methods may seem to our distant successors to be 
wholly antiquated, though our knowledge may read 
like the stammerino- of infants, thouirh our most 
confident generalisations may only appear to be the 
groping in the dark, still I believe that even then, 
even in those remote periods, this hall will still con- 
tinue to serve the needs of our University, and will 
be associated in the minds of all those who love it 
with the name of our generous benefactor." 

It is unnecessary to recapitulate the steps which 
had led to the erection of the Public Health Institute 
and the presentation to the University of Sir John 
Usher's gift in 1902,^ another ottshoot in the scheme 
of University extension. But the Faculty of Science 
was still further asserting its claim for due recognition 
of its needs. The Departments of Engineering and 
Natural Philosophy had laboured for a long time 
under the disadvantages of restricted acconmiodation, 
and the increasing importance of the first, as a 
training-school for the young engineer, necessitated 

' Chapter XV. 


the introduction of more commodious premises. In 
October 1900, Professor Hudson Beare had been in- 
stalled in the Chair previously occupied by Fleeming 
Jenkin and Armstrong, and he was anxious to see 
his Department developed, while in the following year 
Professor M'Gregor succeeded Peter Guthrie Tait, 
who had given forty-one years of continuous service 
in the Chair of Natural Philosophy. 

Early in 1903, coincident indeed with Turner's 
appointment as Principal, an influential Committee 
was formed, consisting of members of the University 
Court and a number of the leading citizens of Edin- 
burgh, interested in the welfare of the University, 
with the object of enlisting public sympathy in aid 
of her further improvement and expansion. Turner 
was elected Convener, and the work of the Committee 
proved so satisfactory, largely as the result of his 
influence, that it was found quite unnecessary to make 
any appeal to the general public for funds. The 
sum that was raised by private endeavour amounted 
to nearly £50,000. The most pressing claims for 
assistance were, undoubtedly, those of the two Science 
Departments, and in the construction and equipment 
of the new Physics Laboratory, the friends of Tait 
were enabled, at the same time, to perpetuate the 
memory of his scientific work in the most fitting 

The question of a suitable site for the new Depart- 
ments did not prove to be a difficulty, as Turner had 
become cognisant of the fact that the Town Council 
were willing to dispose of the Old Infirmary buildings 
in Drummond Street, along with the adjoining area, 
consisting of three or four acres of ground. When 
the New Infirmary was built in 1870, the old build- 
ings had been used by the Town for the treat- 
ment of cases of infectious disease in Edinburgh, but 
they had been recently vacated on the completion 
of the new City Hospital at Colinton Mains. The 
negotiations for the purchase of the Old Infirmary 


were practically left in Turner's hands, and there is 
no doubt that he was mainly responsible for the 
successful issue of the transaction. By the confidence 
and respect which he inspired, he won the cordial 
support of the members of the Town Council. His 
power of dealing tactfully and patiently with men 
of very diverse temperaments and training, combined 
with his exceptional gift of business capacity, were 
shown to advantage in a matter of this kind, and 
contributed to the satisfactory agreement between 
both parties. It was as much an advantage to the 
City to dispose of the property in this way as it was 
to the University to acquire it. In all probai)ility 
the buildings would in course of time have been 
demolished, as they could not have been suitably 
adapted to municipal purposes, while their proximity 
to the University certainly increased their usefulness 
as part of the teaching school. A sum of £15,000 
was paid for the property, the amount being furnished 
from the private subscriptions received by the Com- 
mittee, wliile the adaptation of the buildings to their 
special purposes was met, for the most part, by the 
grants made by the Carnegie Trustees and by the 
donors of the Tait Memorial Fund. 

In a speech delivered by Turner at the semi-jul)ilee 
dinner of the Students' Representative Council in 
1905, he thus referred to the action of the Town 
Council in connection with the site : *' Through the 
public spirit and the historical feeling which filled 
the minds of the Town Council of this city, they 
allowed the University to become the purchasers of a 
very important piece of ground, and I should like to 
express to you, my Lord Provost, and your colleagues, 
our great indebtedness for the opportunity which you 
gave us of becoming the purchasers of the ground. 
It showed, if I may say so, on your part an historical 
feeling. It showed that you felt how intimately the 
town had been associated with the University, in its 
growth from the small Town's College to the great 


institution that it has become. I have pleasure in 
saying that only yesterday we passed the plans for 
the erection of the Department of Engineering, and 
before many weeks are over, I believe that we shall 
be able to approve the plans for the construction of 
the Department of Natural Philosophy." 

The acquisition of this old site by the University 
thus reconsecrated the ground for educational pur- 
poses. It was there that the first High School had 
been built in 1578, and for two centuries had provided 
the youth of the city with their early intellectual 
training. The original building had been pulled down 
and rebuilt in 1779, and had continued to be used as 
the School until the classic temple was erected in 
the Regent Road in 1829. Sir Rowand Anderson's 
scheme of reconstruction has left untouched the ex- 
ternal walls of the old High School building, and the 
pillars of its ancient porch still bear the names of 
many of the boys of that bygone period cut in the old 
sandstone. The walls which once echoed to the youth- 
ful voices and footsteps of Walter Scott and Henry 
Brougham, the future Lord Chancellor of England 
and the first Chancellor of the University, of William 
Cullen and Sir Charles Bell, and of many others who 
carved their way to fame, now re-echo to the hum of 
the electric motor and the thud of the hydraulic pump, 
as it tests the iron and steel. The hydraulic labora- 
tory which has been fitted up in the old building is 
one of the largest in the United Kingdom, and the 
whole Engineering Department, in its completeness 
and utility, bears most favourable comparison with 
any other in the teaching schools of the country. 

The new Physical Institute was installed in what was 
formerly the Surgical Hospital of the Old Infirmary, 
situated upon the north side of Drummond Street, and, 
as m the case of the sister department, the original 
walls have been left almost untouched. A part of 
the old city wall and the massive iron gate, once the 
entrance to the Infirmary, have been preserved as 


interesting historic monuments, while the stone steps 
worn by the footprints of many generations of students, 
and sacred to the memory of Lizars and Listen, Sir 
William Fergusson and Syme, remain as relics of the 
half- forgotten past. 

The new laboratories were opened in October 1906, 
and the ceremony was not the least interesting of the 
many which had marked the onward march of progress 
in the life of Scotland's youngest University. Graced 
by the presence of the Chancellor, Mr A. J. Balfour, 
the event was further identified by the admission to 
the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws of the Earl 
of Elgin, the first Chairman of the Carnegie Trustees, 
and of Mr Andrew Carnegie, the creator of the Trust. 
To the latter was entrusted the duty of declaring the 
buildings open. It was not unnatural that Mr 
Carnegie, imbued with the spirit of materialism, and 
devoting much of his wealth to bringing knowledge 
within the reach of all classes, should take the oppor- 
tunity of emphasising the new position, and lauding 
the power attained by the applied sciences. Criticis- 
ing in somewhat characteristic vein the bygone educa- 
tional methods and contrasting them with more modern 
developments, Mr Carnegie said — 

For centuries the University wasted her powers upon specu- 
lative subjects, incapable of settlement, which, even if settled, 
could have had no beneficial influence upon human life. The 
leaders argued in a circle. Many of you are familiar with 
the curious questions which the learned of old debated ; faint 
traces of somewhat similar subjects sometimes obtrude them- 
selves to-day. Two, at least, of our mrn find recrea- 
tion from high affairs of Stnte, searching fnr foundations 
which are never found, or for the pathway to n-ality, proving 
to the entire satisfaction of readers that there is about tliat 
pathway " No Reality " whatever. Fortunately these excur- 
sionists are in constant demand by their country, in otlice or 
in opposition, which prevents fears of serious conse(|uence.s. 

The Catholic Churcli then captured most of the rnivcrsities, 
and Clericalism reigned for many long years, during which 


nothing was known of Milton's bold words, " Let truth and 
error grapple." Conclusions were determined before investi- 
gations began. Clericalism in turn was finally dethroned, 
but only to be succeeded by another tyrant, ancient classics, 
which usurped the throne. The millions are now being de- 
voted to science and practical studies. This betokens a 
steady march forwards from the policy of the past, not that 
it is desirable to exclude any of the former University courses, 
but that there should be added others, needed to guide and 
advance the new knowledge which is creating new conditions. 
This mighty force of our day has hitherto been the Cinderella 
of the Sisterhood of Knowledge, and you know how Cinderella 
was treated by her haughty sisters. The Prince has appeared 
at last and taken her by the hand. It is now the turn of the 
elder sisters to greet the once neglected Princess. She will 
more than justify the millions which are now being showered 
upon her in the most progressive lands. 

Thus has the University developed to the present all-em- 
bracing type, through the successive reigns of scholasticism, 
theology, and ancient classics, always behind the age, con- 
servative in the highest deg^ree. Science has arisen and 
established her claims to equality. We have long had the 
Republic of Letters; we now have the Republic of Know- 
ledge. The ceremony of to-day bears testimony to the 
growing power of Edinburgh University. She is to remain 
famous for her Medical School, and is also destined to in- 
crease her reputation as a scientific instructor, through the 
possession of the increased facilities now provided. The 
Physical Laboratory and the Engineering School, which, with 
the cordial co-operation of the municipal authorities have 
been so ably procured by the Principal and the University 
Court, are the necessary tools which will enable her to extend 
her work. They mark an epoch in her long career, and are to 
testify to future generations that the officials in charge of her 
work at the beginning of the twentieth century were alive 
to the duty of keeping her abreast of the new knowledge. 

That the study of science is indispensable to the 
efiSciency of the nations no one will deny, but few, if 
any, will be found to admit that science, and it alone, 
is to absorb all the energies of University education 
and to deny to the elder sisters their rightful place. 
The world would be the poorer, and life, indeed, would 
be robbed of much that makes it worth living-, if the 


Republic of Letters ceased to exist. " It was evi- 
dent," said Mr Balfour in his reply, "that Mr 
Carnegie, as a Scotsman, could not escape the taint 
of philosophy. He had talked about the soul of 
matter, and that matter without soul was unworthy 
of investigation. Metaphysics ! He talked about 
service to the infinite. Metaphysics ! It was in vain 
that they struggled to free themselves from their 
early misfortune, and distinguished as their new 
graduate was in the higher and more successful 
branch of practice, he remained a Scotsman even 
in those characteristics and qualities in which he 
evidently thought the Scots were a little behind and 
mediaeval. It showed in his love of looking at the 
phenomena of this world under some great universal 
generalisation, and in looking at all the forces around 
them, whether in the material or moral sphere, as 
part of one great whole, and that was philosophy." 

Yet another offshoot from the parent stem de- 
veloped under Turner's fostering care. The question 
of systematising the education in Forestry in Edin- 
burgh began to take more concrete shape in 1907, 
when the Governors of tlie Edinburgh and East of 
Scotland College of Agriculture approached the Uni- 
versity Court, in the sunnner of tluit year, with the 
object of considering what steps might be taken to 
provide instruction in tlie subject. The College of 
Agriculture had been promised a grant of money from 
the Scotch Education Department, botli for the pur- 
pose of providing the necessary instruction, and with 
the object of acquiring land in the neighliourhood of 
Edinburgh for the devel()})ment of a Forest Garden, 
and for a large area in the Highlands of Scotland, 
suitable for the practical study of Sylviculture. The 
object which the College had in view in co-operating 
with the University was to prevent any unnecessary 


duplication of classes in the two institutions, and, at 
the same time, to give the University facilities for 
educating her students, both in the garden and in 
the forest. 

The instruction in Forestry in the University had 
not been carried out, hitherto, on a very extended 
scale, and it compared unfavourably with what was 
being given in Oxford, The University authorities 
had determined, therefore, to effect improvements in 
their scheme of education, and had resolved to insti- 
tute a Degree in Forestry. The College, at the same 
time, had under consideration the question of granting 
a Diploma, but the Governors felt that to do so, when 
the University was giving a Degree, would only in- 
volve an unnecessary overlapping of classes. They 
decided, therefore, to forgo, for a time at least, the 
question of giving a qualification in Forestry, but 
they expressed their desire to give instruction to 
University students in those branches of the subject 
which could be dealt with in the Forest Garden and 
Forest Area. The projected scheme, however, fell 
through in 1909. 

In 1910, interest in the question was revived, in 
view of the fact that the Secretary of State for India 
was prepared to approve of the University curriculum 
for the training of the India forest students. Turner 
had given evidence before the Committee of Inquiry 
appointed by the Secretary of State, and as the out- 
come of the Committee's investigations, the above 
decision had been reached. But the University cur- 
riculum contained no practical instruction owing to 
the want of a Forest Garden and a Forest Area, so 
that her students would be compelled to go to France 
or Germany for their practical work. Such a state 
of affairs could hardly be regarded as satisfactory. 
Turner, therefore, applied to the Development Com- 
missioners for a grant from the Development Fund 
(Act of 1909) towards the extension and improvement 


of University Forestry instruction, and he pressed for 
a Forest Garden and Nursery, an extension of the 
Museum, and the construction of a Laboratory. 

In 1911, negotiations were again oj)ened up with 
the College of Agriculture, with the view of ])roviding 
the Garden area, to be used jointly by the University 
and the College, and to arrange a course of instruc- 
tion and the suitable allocation of classes between the 
two institutions. A satisfactory working arrange- 
ment was reached whereby a subdivision of the 
teaching was made : an Elementary Course was 
assigned to the College to meet both the needs of 
the University students reading for their Degree, and 
of the College students studying for the Diploma 
which that body had again determined uj)on. The 
final or Advanced Course was to be taught in the 
University. At the same time, application was made 
to the Development Commissioners for a sum of 
£12,000 for the erection of the Forestry Buildings, 
and the property, already acquired by the University 
on the north side of George Square, was utilised for 
the purpose. Through the generosity of the Com- 
missioners, most suitable provision has thus been 
made for the teaching of a subject which is growing 
in importance, and which every year is receiving an 
increasing number of students. The provision of the 
Forest Garden has yet to materialise. A suitable site 
had been selected in 1913, upon the Dreghorn estate, 
in the immediate neigliljourhood of tln^ city, but 
owing to the extended use of the grounds at 
Dreghorn by the military authorities, c<Hisequent 
upon the Great War, this locality had to be 
abandoned, and any further development of the 
question must perforce remain in abeyance until peace 
is restored. 

Turner displayed a great personal interest and 
enthusiasm throughout tlie whole of tlie negotiations, 
and was largely instrumental in obtaining i\\e grants 


that were required in aid of the exteusion of the 
teaching facilities. We can recall a brilliant day- 
early in August 1912 — one of few such days in what 
proved to be a cold and wet month — when the town 
of Nancy, the former capital of Lorraine, was bathed 
in summer sunshine. It was a day when a stroll in 
the public gardens, or a seat under the awning of a 
pleasant cafe, would have proved an enjoyable method 
of spending such a summer morning. But the Uni- 
versity of Nancy was the fortunate possessor of an 
excellent School of Forestry, and the museum, with 
its garden attached to the School, was the best of 
the kind in France. Such an opportunity could not 
be lost when Forestry matters at home were absorb- 
ing so much attention ; consequently, Turner passed 
the forenoon carefully inspecting all that was to be 
seen, and doubtless the Department in George Square 
benefited as the result of his well-spent hours. 

Thirty - three years have elapsed since the New 
Medical School in Teviot Place was completed, and 
alreadv a demand for its further extension has arisen. 
With the introduction of the study of Chemistry into 
the Arts Course, and in view of the necessity of pro- 
viding instruction, not only for students of Medicine 
but for those engaged in the various Applied Sciences, 
the accommodation provided in the Chemistry Depart- 
ment in the early days of the New Medical School has 
far outgrown the calls that are now being made upon 
it. In a Memorandum prepared by Professor James 
Walker, and laid before the Senatus and the Court in 
1912, it was proposed that the Department should be 
transferred to a new site in High School Yards, and 
thus give provision not only for its extension, but per- 
mit of the much-needed improvements in some of the 
other Departments. The plans were prepared, and 
placed in the hands of Mr Balfour Paul. But the 


War again intervened, and temporarily checked the 
commencement of building operations. 

Thus the tree continues to grow and to spread its 
branches over the city. " In Education there is no 
finality. We cannot stand still in such matters. 
Every step which we take in the improvement of 
University education gives us a new platform from 
which to start, in order to make other and better 
arrangements." ^ 

1 Sir William Turner : speech at Educational Meeting. 

2 £ 




Kobert Rollock, first Principal — Eobert Leighton — William Carstares 
— William Robertson — Brewster, Grant, and Muir — Turner — 
The Secondary Schools — Degree in Education — Degree in 
Veterinary Science. 

When the Magistrates of the City of Edinburgh 
sealed their contract with Master Robert Rollock on 
the 14th September 1583, creating him Regent of 
the College, they laid the foundation of the long 
line of Principals of the University. Robert Rollock, 
son of the laird of Powis, near Stirling, was then in 
his thirty-third year, and had succeeded, during the 
short period of his life, in establishing his reputation 
as a teacher of philosophy, and had become well 
known for the piety which he instilled in the minds 
of his pupils. In the new position to which he had 
been called, he was to " exercise the office of Regent 
in instruction, government, and correction of the 
youth and persons committed to his charge ... so 
long as the said Mr Robert uses himself faithfuUv 
therein, according to the rules and injunctions which 
shall be given to him by the Provost, Baillies, and 
Council of the said burgh." The Council further 
bound itself to advance him, upon his good merit, 


to the most honourable place that should become 

The appointment of Rollock, as Regent or Tutor, 
marked the opening of the first session of the 
*' Town's College," and in association with Mr Duncan 
Nairn, as second master or tutor, he commenced to 
instruct the pupils, some eighty or ninety in number, 
preparing them for their graduation as Masters in 
Arts. Every evening he conducted family worship : 
on Sunday, the pupils assembled for morning lessons, 
and were then taken to attend divine service. The 
general life of the College, at this early period in its 
history, was essentially collegiate and domestic, not 
having as yet assumed the character of a L'niversity. 

In 1586, Rollock received the title of Principal or 
First Master, in fulfilment of the Town Council's 
pledge that he should be advanced to the highest 
post in the College. Thus dignified, he became 
relieved of his obligations as a teacher, and was soon 
appointed by the Council, with the sanction of the 
Presbytery of Edinburgh, Professor of Theology in 
the College. He thus combined, in his own person, 
the offices of Principal and Professor. The combina- 
tion of the two appointments was not continued 
beyond the period of his immediate successor, Henry 
Charteris, though we find that, when John Lee was 
Principal, he was appointed a Professor of Divinity 
in the year following the Disruption. 

From 1586 to 1858, only members of the Church 
of Scotland, who were engaged in the Ministry, 
were eligible for election to the Princi})alsliip in the 
Universities of Glasgow, Aberdeen, and Edinl)urgh. 
Looking back u])on the men, nineteen in number, 
who held the office in Edinburgh during this long 
period, we can select three who have left their mark 
upon contemporary history in Scotland, and who, by 
their personality, exercised a beneficial influence upon 
the University. Robert Leighton, the divine, taken 
from the ministry of Newbattle, Mid -Lothian, was 


appointed in 1653. A man of rare sweetness and 
humility, he was acceptable to all the Churches, and 
as Principal he proved "a great blessing to his 
office; for he talked so to all the youth of any 
capacity or distinction, that it had great effect on 
many of them." He revived the practice introduced 
by KoUock of giving lectures to the students, and he 
discoursed upon Human Happiness, the Immortality 
of the Soul, and the Scheme of Salvation. He took 
steps to improve classical teaching, and as he attri- 
buted the defect in the progress of the College pupils 
to the deficiency of grammar-schools, he worked for 
the establishment of such in each of the Presbyteries. 
Upon the restoration of Episcopacy in Scotland, he 
accepted the Bishopric of Dunblane, and in 1670 he 
became Archbishop of Glasgow. 

The commencement of the eighteenth century saw 
the advent of William Carstares, the statesman, the 
man of action, of boldness and promptitude in an 
emergency, who recognised what ought to be done 
and got it done. When a student of theology in 
Utrecht, he became the friend and confidant of 
William of Orange, and later in life he proved him- 
self a tower of strength to his countrymen. He 
persuaded William HI. to trust the Presbyterians 
of Scotland, and in this way he helped to bring 
about the Revolutionary Settlement, and influenced the 
General Assembly to accept the Act of Union with 
England. In 1703, Carstares was appointed Prin- 
cipal, and did much to improve the position of the 
College. He obtained a bounty from Queen Anne, and 
with it he was enabled to increase the salaries of the 
Regents, who now became designated Professors. The 
Faculties were remodelled after the Dutch type, and 
during his tenure of office, concurrent with the greater 
prosperity which followed the Union, the College began 
to develop and take its place as a great University. 

In the person of William Robertson, minister of 
Lady Tester's Church, appointed Principal in 1762, 


the University placed at her head a man of letters, a 
writer of history, and one who did much to revive 
intellectual life in Scotland. The contemporary of 
David Hume and Adam Smith, he was, next to them, 
"the most eminent Scottish prose writer of his time. 
Hi^h as was the character of the men of letters who 
were then the glory of Edinburgh, there was not one 
of them who surpassed Robertson in amiability of 
temper and sweetness of disposition. His direction 
of ecclesiastical affairs was wise and statesmanlike, 
and the eloquence which enabled him to maintain his 
predominance in the General Assembly was eminently 
persuasive." ^ During his long Principalship of thirty- 
one years, the reputation of the University increased, 
and she attracted many students from south of the 
Border. The Faculties of Arts and Medicine were 
stronger than at any previous time. Robertson became 
an active force in all that made for her increased ])ro8- 
perity. He promoted the scheme for providing the 
new buildings ; he established the Library Fund and 
did much to extend its usefulness. 

One of the several changes which followed upon the 
introduction of the Universities (Scotland) Act of 
1858, was the enlargement in the Held of .selection of 
the Principal. Hitherto, the office had been denied to 
the layman, or to the member of any Cliurcli other than 
the Church of Scotland. Under the influence of the 
Disruption of 184S, public opinion led to a movement 
which resulted in the passing of an important amentl- 
ment upon one of the clauses of the Bill while under 
discussion in the House of Commons. In consecjuence 
of this, it was enacted " tiiat the Princi})ulH in the 
Universities of Glasgow, Aberdeen, and Kdinburgli, 
appointed in time to come, shall not as such, be, or be 
deemed Professors of Divinity, nor shall it \n>. a valid 
objection to any person a})pointed to the office of 
Principal in any of the said Universities that he is 

1 Professor J, H. Millar. 'A Literary IIintory of Scotland,' 1903. 


a layman, and no such office of Principal therein shall 
fall under or be included in the terms ' Chair of 
Theology.'" The title of Vice-Chancellor, which has 
become associated with that of Principal, dated in 
Edinburgh from the same period, as the appointment 
of Chancellor was made, for the first time, in the 
University under the Act of 1858.-^ It was in the 
power of the Chancellor to appoint a Yice-Chancellor, 
who, in his absence, discharged his office so far as 
regarded the conferring of degrees. 

Under the changed conditions of election, five Prin- 
cipals have now been appointed to the office, three of 
whom have been men of science,^ while two had held 
educational and administrative positions in India. In 
1859, science, for the first time, became represented in 
the person of its illustrious exponent. Sir David 
Brewster. The son of the Rector of Jedburgh Gram- 
mar School, he was, at the time of his election, already 
the recipient of all the honours that his scientific 
colleagues had in their power to bestow. To him, 
the world owes almost all the most important of the 
experimental results arrived at in the field of optics 
during the eighteenth century. He had discovered 
the superiority of the converging lights or mirrors 
in the illumination of lighthouses ; he had invented 
the kaleidoscope and had solved the principle upon 
which the improved stereoscope was subsequently 
made. After twenty-one years as Principal of the 
United Colleges at St Andrews, he was trans- 
ferred, at the age of seventy-seven, to the same office 
in the University of Edinburgh. "This remarkable 
man, after living at feud all his life with those who 
came in close contact with him in matters of business, 
proved during the eight years of his Priucipalship 
in Edinburgh a determined lover of peace, a wise 

' The office of Chancellor existed in the other Scottish Universities 
prior to this Act. 

' Principal Sir J. Alfred Ewing, K.C.B., who succeeded Sir William 
Turner, had made his reputation in Physics and Engineering. 


ruler, respected by all his subjects, and a delightful 

On the death of Brewster in 18G8, opinion in 
Edinburgh was divided as to the selection of his 
successor. Sir Robert Christison and Sir James 
Y. Simpson were both mentioned for the vacant 
office, but ultimately the choice of the Curators fell 
upon Sir Alexander Grant, Bart. His work, and the 
success which attended it, has already been dealt 
with.^ A dux of Harrow, a Balliol scholar and Fellow 
of Oriel, Grant had obtained an extensive experience 
in educational administration in India, where he had 
been Yice-Chancellor of the University of Bombay, 
and Director of Public Instruction in the same Presi- 
dency. When in 1884, the University placed at her 
head Sir William Muir, she ap{)ointed one who had 
attained distinction in high oHice in the Government 
of India. A man of culture and of wide sympathies, 
ever anxious for the welfare of the undergraduates 
and solicitous on their behalf, he forged a bond of 
affection between them and himself. In him we see 
a reflection of the same spirit which influ«*nced the 
minds of his predecessors, Bollock and Leighton, in his 
desire to improve the conditions of University life. 

The changes introduced, in 1858, into the constitu- 
tion of the University had added considerably to the 
duties devolving upon the oflice. With the whole 
administrative system jjlaced for the first time in the 
hands of the Senatus and tlie Court, and with the 
Principal as Chairman of botli bodies, the j)ositi()n 
was no sinecure or one of digiiilied »'as«', as sonu' would 
suppose it to be. Turner gave the fullest considera- 
tion to the (piestion of accepting nomination to the 
vacant post. He recognised that lie was no longer 
young, that he had passed, indeed, the allotted span 
of threescore years and ten. He might have felt hini- 
self justified in declining to assume fresh responsibiii- 

« Chapter XVI 11. 


ties at an age when he might conscientiously have 
withdrawn from the scene of his former activities. 
" Too old at forty," had become a popular saying which 
he never regarded as a serious proposition. " Most of 
us think we can do good work after sixty," he said, 
and some of us at any rate, he might have added, can 
do good work after seventy. Turner had no doubt in 
his own mind that he was both physically and men- 
tally capable of discharging the duties which devolved 
upon the position, otherwise he would have given the 
matter no further consideration. His upright carriage, 
his firm step, his keen eye and purposeful bearing at 
this period, denoted not only abundant vitality, but an 
intellect which the years had not yet impaired. A 
story is told of how he was anxious to submit himself 
to the experimental test of a new instrument that had 
been devised for measuring the fraction of a second 
involved in transmitting a " reflex action " through 
the body ; in other words, the time required by the 
brain in responding to some peripheral stimulus. 
When the test was carried out upon him and upon 
some of his active students, it was found that his 
responses were quite as brisk as theirs, a result which 
greatly delighted him. He had no intention of accept- 
ing office in order to act as a mere figurehead. It was 
not his conception of what the position signified. He 
could not have tolerated that view of it in others, and 
he would not have accepted it himself in a similar 

The health of his wife, at this time, was a matter 
which he felt called upon to consider in coming to a 
decision. His promotion would, of necessity, bring 
with it certain social duties in which she would 
require to take her part, and he was averse to placing 
any undue strain upon her. The acceptance of the 
Principalship meant also the discontinuance of his 
career as a teacher, the putting behind him of the 
profession to which he was devoted, although, in the 
natural course of events, such a step could not be long 


delayed. The severance of old associations of place 
and work, and the cutting of the ties that had hound 
him for nearly fifty years to the Anatomical Depart- 
ment, were not lightly contemplated. His occupation 
of the Chair for another year would have witnessed 
his jubilee as a teacher of Anatomy in the University. 
Notwithstanding these considerations, a feeling of 
duty called him to the office, and in that sense alone 
he accepted the nomination, conscious of his ability 
to undertake, for a time, the new responsibility. His 
appointment was made unanimously by the Curators 
of Patronage on January 22nd, 1903, "Had I been 
gifted with the most vivid imagination," he said when 
delivering his first graduation address as Principal, 
*' I could not have pictured that, as time went by, I 
should have had, as Principal and Vice-Chancellor of 
the University, to address the young graduates ; tlie 
question of personal promotion to these offices would 
have seemed the wildest of dreams." 

Lord Lister did not forget liis old friend when he 
learnt of his promotion. Writing from Bath, where 
he was undergoing treatment, he said : — 

I have seen in to-day's 'Times' the important announce- 
ment of your election. I sincerely hope that this is as much 
a subject of congratulation for you as it is for the University 
and the Medical Profession. The University secures your 
invaluable services, and the Profession is lionoured in having 
this dignified position occupied by one of its nioinV)ers. 

For yourself, this mark of the confidence of tlio University 
cannot but be very gratifying, and I know tiiat the work of 
the office will be thoroughly congenial to you. I wish you 
many years enjoyment of it. 

In the opinion of the citizens of Edinburgli, and of 
the larger ])ublic, he was thn right man in the riglit 
place, and the University had honoured hersell' l)y thus 
honouring him. It was a source of great gratification 
to the medical j)rotes8ion, who saw, for the first time, 
one of tiieir active members called to a post ol such 


distinction. Strictly speaking, he was not the first 
Principal possessing a degree in Medicine. Gilbert 
Rule, elected in 1690, though a Presbyterian minister 
who had suffered persecution in his early ministerial 
days, and was driven to leave Scotland, graduated as 
a doctor of medicine in Holland during his enforced 
absence. On his return to his own country he actually 
practised at Berwick-upon-Tweed, carrying on, at the 
same time, in a private way certain ministerial duties. 
When appointed Principal, however, he had become 
minister of Greyfriars. John Lee, the predecessor of 
Brewster, graduated M.D. in Edinburgh, but chose 
divinity as his profession. In one respect, at any rate, 
Turner could claim undoubted priority : though domi- 
ciled in Scotland, he was the first Englishman to 
become Principal. " I wonder the Scots allow an 
Englishman to rule them," wrote one of his friends 
at the time of his election ; " but I take it they think 
they have naturalised you ! " Amongst his colleagues 
his appointment was warmly endorsed. They recog- 
nised that in him they possessed one of themselves, 
whose claims for the position were immeasurably 
greater than any that could be advanced in favour 
of an outside candidate, and he was assured of their 
complete confidence and loyal assistance in carrying 
on the administration of the University. 

As Turner had, for many years, been engaged in 
helping to administer her affairs, his promotion entailed 
no break in the continuity of the policy which was 
being carried on. His appointment, indeed, was an 
assurance that there would be no interruption in the 
scheme of developing the scientific side of University 
activity. He was in the fullest sympathy with that 
aspect of progress, and much of what was accomplished 
during his Principalship has already been recorded in 
these pages. A wider horizon now opened out before 
him, as the interests of all the Faculties came more 
immediately under his supervision. As the head of 
the University he had to consider her educational 


interests from a broader standpoint, not only as they 
concerned her within her own walls, but in their more 
extended relation with the educational institutions 
around her. His citizenship acquired a wider outlook. 

Turner's new position brought him certain ex officio 
appointments upon some of the Educational Boards 
and Trusts in the city, but, in addition to these, his 
well-established reputation as a business man led to 
his election to other similar offices. All of them 
benefited from his experience and his knowledt^^e of 
educational matters. He became a Governor of the 
Fettes Trust, and his interest in the afiairs of the 
school was proportionately increased by the fact that 
his three sons had been educated at the College. He 
was made Chairman of the Trust for Education in the 
Highlands and Islands of Scotland, an administrative 
body which dealt with various aspects of school teach- 
ing in Orkney and Shetland and the northern counties. 
One of the principal aims of the Trust was to spread 
the teaching of Gaelic, and to arrange for the distri- 
bution of grants for that purpose. As President ot 
the Committee of Management of the St George's 
Training College for Women Teachers, he was much 
interested in the work of the College, and, from his 
wide experience, he was able to assist the Connnittee 
in their deliberations. Tin-ner regarded his accej)t- 
ance of these and other similar appointments in the 
same light as, in his earlier days, he had viewed his 
election as an honorary ofrice-l)earer in the various 
scientific societies to which he belonged. He did not 
look upon them as merely honorary positions, but. re- 
cognising that certain duties were attached to them, 
he threw himself into the actual work of the Councils. 
Nor did he confine his energies, in this direction, to 
the Council-room only, but he took more than one 


opportunity of visiting the schools, and of putting 
himself in touch with the actual work of the teachers 
and pupils. 

As one of the Board of Governors of Morison's 
Academy, Crieff,^ he twice attended the Annual Ex- 
hibition of the School, taking part in the proceedings, 
and, on a like occasion, as a Trustee of the John 
Newland's Trust, he addressed the pupils of the Bath- 
o-ate Academy, one of the endowed Secondary Schools 
upon the estate of the Edinburgh Merchant Company. 
In his address at Morison's Academy, in 1911, he 
pleaded for an extension of the school, mainly along 
the lines of science teaching. Owing to the position 
which the subject had attained, he considered that 
the Secondary Schools were bound to provide the 
necessary accommodation and instruction in the shape 
of properly equipped laboratories and thoroughly 
qualified teachers. " There is one great thing which 
we must all keep in mind, and that is, that we must 
never allow an institution to drift into an educational 
backwater. The prow of the boat must always be 
advancing. We have to pass on to what is good and 
to what is improvement, and that can only be done 
by meeting the needs of the country and of the pupils." 
He regarded a certain intermixture of science with 
the other subjects taught in the schools as of great 
educational value, apart from the knowledge of science 
that was thus acquired. It was of value alike to 
those who gave the instruction and to those who re- 
ceived it, because it taught accuracy. " Accuracy in 
observation, in experiment, and in thought are vital 
for the purposes of the scientific man and woman, but 
it is equally important that youth should also learn 
how to be accurate in speaking the truth as a moral 
being." He was not in favour of early specialisation 
in the schools, as there was a danger in making the 

' In 1918, the Academy placed his portrait upon their walls, the en- 
graving having been presented to the school by Mr Patrick Murray, W.S., 
the secretary to the Board of Governors. 


boy think that his path in life was to be followed out 
on a narrow specialised line. 

When presenting the prizes at the Lancaster 
Grammar School in 1902, Turner said: "In the 
school education of the present day we have reached 
the meeting-ground of the old with the modern. The 
schools must blend as far as practicable what is good 
in the old, with that which is good in modern 
education. That which at one time was considered 
to be paramount cannot entirely be put aside. We 
must keep what is best in it and apply it to the 
needs of the present day. We must preserve in our 
schools and in our Universities both the classical and 
the mathematical education, so as to fit the youth to 
enter the various professions, because these subjects 
are essential as a training for all professions. But 
boys must be trained for commercial life and to be- 
come men of business, and therefore, the school system 
must have such arrangements and appliances as will 
prepare them for entering business and becoming 
ensaired in commerce. This side of school education 
is comparatively new, and it has not as yet had many 
traditions to fall back upon." 

Turner's interest in the progress of School Educa- 
tion was not confined to the pupils alone, but was 
extended to the question of improving the training of 
the teachers. When welcoming, on belialf of the 
University, the Congress of the Educational Institute 
of Scotland in 1912, held under the Presidency of Dr 
Morgan, he pointed out that the University owed its 
position as a great educational body, in no small 
respect, to the training which its students had re- 
ceived in the schools of Scotland. " We have a 
strong and direct interest," he continued, " in the 
preservation of the standard of education in 
schools, so that the youth of botli sexes who come 
to us may be in a position to profit by tlie higiier 
University instruction. Anything that affects the 
schools must also have a reaction upon the Uni- 


versity. There would appear to be a certain dis- 
turbing element in the minds of teachers as to what 
the relations of the University to the schools is to 
be. One of the resolutions upon the programme of 
the Congress is framed as follows : ' The Congress 
views with grave apprehension the serious decrease 
in the number of students in training attending Uni- 
versity classes in recent years, and reaffirms the 
strong conviction of the Institute that, in the best 
interests of Scottish education, the traditional associ- 
ation of Universities with the training of teachers 
should be not only maintained but strengthened.' 
I regard that fear, supposing it should be as stated, 
as a national calamity. It is vital that the associ- 
ation should be maintained." Whatever influence 
Turner had in this direction he used to the utmost, 
and those who were identified with the movement, 
always found him a helpful adviser. 

Turner was very desirous of seeing satisfactory 
arrangements made by which prospective teachers 
would be enabled to obtain a practical training in 
their profession. " The University can train the 
youth of the country in the theory of education," he 
said, " but instruction in its practice must be given 
in the schools. Could some arrangement not be 
made in the schools of the Merchant Company to 
enable the Professor of Education to have — of course 
always under the supervision of the school authori- 
ties — an opportunity of practical education for his 
students. 1 have a very good reason for my request. 
Under the English Education Act all teachers must 
be registered, and a condition of the registration is 
that the applicant must show a certificate of having 
gone through a course of theoretical and practical 
education. It is therefore of the utmost importance 
that the school-masters and mistresses who are 
trained in Edinburgh should have such certificates. 
I appeal, therefore, to the Merchant Company to 
help the University in this matter. I should like 


to ask even more than this, to enlist the sympathy 
of the Company in the development of such teaching 
as is more especially aj)plicable to commercial life. 
I refer to the teaching of modern languages, k>oking 
upon them not merely as media of expression of 
wants, but of expression of thoughts, as a means 
for enabling those who travel abroad to get at the 
thoughts of the people with whom they are speak- 
ing. For commercial purposes this is obviously of 
enormous importance. There is still another aspect 
of the question that ought not to be lost sight of — a 
knowledge of the language is an introduction to the 
literature, and the pleasure to be derived from reading 
with intelligence the literature of a country adds 
greatly to the enjoyment and the interest of life." 

During the later years of his Princi})alshi}), the 
University had under consideration tlie question of 
establishing either a Degree in Education, or, as an 
alternative proposal, an M.A. Degree with Honours 
in Education. The general consensus of opinion, 
however, favoured the establishment of a separate 
Degree. The basis of the Ordinance as finally drafted 
and approved in May 1916, was founded upon the 
Memorandum which had been drawn up by Professor 
Darroch, and the Degree was conferred, for the Hrst 
time, at the Graduation Ceremonial in July 1918. 

Under the regulations, two courses of instruction 
have been drawn up, the first, terminating with an 
examination, success in which is awarded with the 
University Diploma, while completion of the second 
course carries the Bachelor's Degree in the History, 
Theory, and Practice of Education. In eacli case, 
candidates require to be graduates in Arts or Science of 
any Scottish University, or the holders of a similar de- 
gree of any University duly approved of by the Court. 
Women placed in the Class Lists of any of the Final 
Honours Examinations in the Universities of Oxford 
and Cambridge may be regarded as graduates for the 


purpose of the Degree. The course of study extends 
over a period of not less than two academical years, 
and embraces instruction both in theory and practice. 
It is necessary to produce evidence of professional 
training- at a recognised Training Centre or College, 
and the attainment of a satisl'actory standard of 
proficiency as a teacher, or, as an alternative, evidence 
must be forthcoming that the candidate has taught 
with success for not less than three years in one or 
more approved schools or educational institutions. In 
this way, due care has been taken to ensure a practical 
acquaintance with the art of teaching. 

The University found herself, at this period, en- 
larging the sphere of her usefulness by having her 
attention turned to the question of Veterinary 
Education. The story is not without interest. For 
many years the training of the veterinary student 
in Edinburgh had been conducted in two Colleges — 
in the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and 
in the Royal (Dick) College in Clyde Street. The 
Dick College had been founded by William Dick, a 
Professor of veterinary medicine, who, in conjunction 
with his assistants, had carried on the work of the 
school for a number of years. By his trust-disposi- 
tion, dated 1866, he appointed the Town Council of 
the city to maintain the management and the useful- 
ness of the College as a training centre. 

In 1876, Turner was appointed a Trustee by Miss 
Mary Dick, the sister of William Dick, and associated 
with him as co-trustees were his colleagues. Professor 
John Chiene, Professor J. G. M'Kendrick of Glasgow 
University, and the late Mr Middleton Rettie, Q.C. 
Upon the death of Miss Dick in 1883, the trustees 
were empowered to accumulate the funds, and when 
they proved sufficient they had instructions to apply 
one-half of the residue of her estate to the assistance 


of the College, in which her brother had taught, 
while the other half was to be devoted to fouiuling 
a Professorship, either of Comparative or of Surgical 
Anatomy in the University, in memory of John Barclay 
and John Goodsir. Owing to the depreciation in the 
value of the securities in which the money was in- 
vested, many years elapsed before a satisflictory sum 
had accumulated to make it possible to transfer the 
money to the two beneficiaries, for the purposes to 
which it had been assigned. Turner's position as a 
trustee undoubtedly stimulated his interest in the 
question of veterinary education, and this had a bear- 
ing upon future developments. 

For a number of years after the death of William 
Dick the Town Council continued to administer the 
affairs of the Colleije in the terms of the trust-deed. 
But the working expenses gradually exceeded the in- 
come of the estate, and they found that it was becom- 
ing increasingly difficult to keep the College in a state 
of efficiency, while it was quite impossible to extend 
it, or to add to the equipment which the more modern 
demands of the science were makincr. Due considera- 
tion, therefore, had to be given to the question of 
maintenance, and unless some modus operandi could 
be devised, the College was in danger of extinction, 
and the means of educating the veterinary student in 
Edinburgh might soon cease to exist. While matters 
were in this unfortunate position, Mr A. J. MacAlluin. 
a successful veterinary surgeon in the city and an 
old pupil of the Dick College, was seriously consider- 
ing the situation, and, as a result of his reflections, 
he came forward with an offer of ill 5,000 in order 
to place the school in a better position, expressing the 
hope that the University would estal)Hsli a curriculuni 
and give a degree in veterinary medicine and surgery. 
In conse(|uence of this generous offer, a number of con- 
versations took place between Mr MacAlhini, Turner, 
and Professor Rankine as representing the University, 
and Mr Hunter (Sir Thomas Hunter) the represen- 

2 F 


tative of the Town Council. As a result of their 
deliberations, the Municipal Council decided to in- 
corporate the Dick College as a Trust under an 
Act of Parliament, and Turner undertook to lay 
the matter before the University Court with the 
object of preparing an Ordinance for granting 
degrees in Veterinary Science. 

Having thus determined upon a satisfactory method 
of improving veterinary education and of saving the 
position of the College, the Town Council, in 1906, 
promoted a Provisional Order for the purpose of 
incorporating the College ; this received the Royal 
Assent in the same 3'^ear. A representative Board of 
Administration was formed with powers to administer 
the funds and to carry on the business of the School. 
Representatives from the Town Council and the 
University, from the Royal College of Veterinary 
Surgeons and the Agricultural Colleges in Scotland, 
and from the Trustees of Miss Mary Dick, constituted 
a comprehensive Board of Management, and Turner 
was elected its first Chairman. 

In the meantime, the University Court prepared 
an Ordinance for a degree in veterinary science, but 
on its presentation to the Universities' Committee 
of the Privy Council it met with the opposition of 
the University of Glasgow. As a result of her repre- 
sentation, the Privy Council found itself unable to 
report favourably to His Majesty upon the Ordinance. 
It was therefore sent back to the University Court 
for amendment, on the ground that the proposed 
course of instruction appeared to afford no adequate 
basis of general and scientific culture, while the pro- 
posals which had been made seemed to be subject to 
any kind of alteration at the hands of the University 
herself. But an amended Ordinance was prepared 
and finally adjusted, receiving the sanction of His 
Majesty in Council in December 1911. The Univer- 
sity thus became able to confer both a Bachelor's and 
Doctor's Degree in Veterinary Science. The arrange- 


ments of the curriculum and the allocation of the 
classes in the University and the Dick College were 
placed in the hands of a Joint Advisory Committee 
of both institutions, A Barclay and Goodsir Lecture- 
ship in Comparative Anatomy in the University was 
filled by the appointment of Dr O. C. Bradley, the 
Principal of the Dick College and its Professor of 
Anatomy, the foundation of a Professorshij) upon the 
subject being in the meantime postponed. 

Turner, in his capacity as Chairman of the Adminis- 
trative Board of the College, devoted considerable 
attention to its affairs. He was desirous of raising 
the character of the teaching imparted, and he took 
a great deal of trouble in seeing that efficient teachers 
were appointed upon its staff. When the movement 
was initiated for the erection of the College new 
buildings in Hope Park Crescent, he used his influence 
in obtaining money for that purpose. As the head 
of a deputation to the Highland and Agricultural 
Society of Scotland — of which Society he had been a 
member since 18G8 — he explained the financial posi- 
tion of the College as follows : " We are undertaking 
to remodel the Veterinary College, to put it into a 
position which is worthy of the subject in Scotland, 
and for that purpose we require money. We have 
approached the Scotch Education Department, which 
has met us on what I concede to be extremely 
generous terms. It has agreed to give us one half 
of the money that we arc about to expend in connec- 
tion with the new buildings, and tliat is a very large 
subscription. Owing to the College having been 
established in the city for nearly a hundred years, 
and from the intimate association of the Town Council 
with it for a long period, we approached that IkmIv, 
and they have very generously agreed to give us 
£3000 to carry on the work that we are nl)out to 
undertake. And now we come to you and ask you 
to give a substantial contrii)ution towards the im- 
portant work in wliich we are engaged. We do not 


ask you to give us money for maintenance, but a 
capital sum to assist in buying the site and putting 
up the requisite buildings. We believe that we can 
obtain what is necessary for maintenance year by 
year from the Scotch Education Department. The 
sum we have now to raise is from £25,000 to £30,000, 
and then the Government on its part gives us an 
equivalent sum," As a result of the efforts of the 
deputation the Society contributed £1000. 

The new Royal (Dick) Veterinary College has now 
been completed. A fresh lease of life has been given 
to it. The status of veterinary science in Scotland 
has been elevated by receiving the hall-mark of a 
University degree, and the future of the profession 
presents a brighter outlook. Much of this it owes to 
Turner's personality and his zeal on its behalf. 




Freedom of the City — Honorary Member of the ^lerchant Company 
— Eightieth Birtliday and Sir James Gutlirie portrait — Grad- 
uation and other Ceremonials — Colleagues in the Court and 
Senatus — Students' Union — The End. 

Amongst the fresh honours which came to Turner at 
this period of his life, none gave him more satisfaction, 
or appealed more directly to him, than his admission 
to the Freedom of the City of Edinburgh. It marked 
the esteem in which he was held by his fellow-citizens. 
It had a deeper significance than the highest honour 
which his colleagues in the world of science had con- 
ferred upon him, when they elected him President 
of the British Association, because it rewarded the 
man as well as his work. It was a recognition of 
the respect and admiration in which he was held by 
those amongst whom his daily life was spent, and an 
acknowledgment of his many services to the Uni- 
versity and to the city. To the Magistracy and the 
Town Council, in whose hands lay the Ijestowal of the 
honour, it signified something more : it was an out- 
ward expression of tlieir aj)preciation of his constant 
endeavour to cultivate friendly relations between 
"Town and Gown." Turner never forgot the old 
historic connection between the two bodies, and in 
the later years of his life he was, with the exception 


of his former colleague, Emeritus Professor Campbell 
Fraser,^ the only academic survivor of the period 
when the Town Council controlled University affairs. 
There had been a time when even under modern con- 
ditions University and Town Council had tended to 
drift apart and become somewhat indifferent to each 
other, but under his regime a closer connection had 
again become established. 

Two other men were selected at the same time 
by the Municipal authorities to be recipients of the 
distinction — Mr H. H. Asquith, the Prime Minister 
of the day, and the Rev. Dr Alexander Whyte, Prin- 
cipal of the United Free Church College, Edinburgh. 
As circumstances had arisen which made necessary 
the postponement of the honour in the case of the 
Prime Minister, and as the state of Dr Whyte's health 
prevented his attendance, with the consequent con- 
ferring of the Freedom upon him in absentia, Turner 
found himself the central figure in the ceremony in 
the Synod Hall in December 1909, where an audience 
numbering close upon two thousand persons was pre- 
sided over by Mr W. S. Brown (afterwards Sir William 
Brown), the Lord Provost. Turner's thoughts as he 
looked upon the gathering around him must have 
carried him back to another and very different scene, 
when, sixty-two years before, as a lad of fifteen, he 
had signed the burgess roll of his native town in the 
presence of two spectators, his uncle and the Mayor. 
At the commencement of his life he had claimed the 
freedom by right of birth — now, towards its close, a 
new citizenship was about to be conferred upon him 
by reason of " his brilliant and distinguished career." 
In the words of the Lord Provost, who presented him, 
''the Town Council recognised in Sir William Turner, 
one of their oldest and most eminent citizens, one who 
had done long and distinguished service in connection 

» Alexander Campbell Fraser was appointed to the Chair of Logic 
and Metaphysics m 1856: he resigned in 1891, and died in Dec. 1914, 
aged 96. o , , 


with their University, who was not merely its official 
head, but represented as no other man could do its 
life and work since it was taken over from the Muni- 
cipality fifty years ago, and one who had earned the 
esteem and honour of his fellow-citizens." 

Coincident with his admission to the freedom of 
citizenship, constituting, indeed, an event of the same 
day, Turner was elected an Honorary Member of the 
Edinburgh Merchant Company, along with the P^arl 
of Mar and Kellie, and Lord Pentland, then His 
Majesty's Secretary for Scotland. In the Company 
of Merchants, Edinburgh possesses an ancient and 
influential Corporation, which in 1681 received its 
Royal Charter from Charles II. Amongst its mani- 
fold interests and various important endowments, 
a high place has been taken by the Company's 
Secondary Schools, which have done so much to en- 
hance the reputation of the city as a centre of educa- 
tion. Its educational influence was not inappropriately 
described by Turner on one occasion, when, as a guest 
at the annual dinner of the Merchants, he proposed 
the "Stock of Broom," the plant emblematic of the 
Company — " though the origin of the term goes so far 
back in the mysterious past as to be unknown even 
to your historian, Mr Heron, we can see in it the suit- 
ability of its application to the Merchant Company. 
For what was the broom? A sturdy plant, with a 
vigorous life, congenial alike to the soil and to the 
climate of Scotland. Its vigour and its sturdiness 
were emblematic of the Scottish character, and in all 
respects, in activity of life and in vigour, the broom 
might be regarded as significant of the Company. 
But the broom might be looked at in yet another 
way. It gave ofl' numerous shoots : it |)roduced 
beautiful flowers and a crop of fruit. The Merchant 
Company, fortunate in having attracted to itself for 
many generations some of the ablest men of business 
— clear-headed, far-seeing men— had given offshoots 


ill the form of its magnificent schools distributed over 
the city, and their six thousand pupils were the fruit." 
It was fitting, therefore, that the Company, with 
its large interests in education, should wish to enrol 
upon its list of honorary members the three men 
whom it had on that occasion selected for the honour. 
In 1695, an ancestress of the House of Erskine had, 
in conjunction with the Merchant Company, founded 
the Merchant Maiden Hospital, and for two centuries 
at least, the representative of the House of Mar had 
been a Governor of the Hospital. To the labours of 
Lord Pentland, Scotland owed the Education Act of 
1908, which placed Secondary Education in a more 
advantageous position, while in the words of the 
Master, Mr J. L. Ewing, "We think it fitting that 
Sir William should accept the honorary membership 
of an ancient incorporation, which has striven for many 
years to the best of its ability to uphold and increase 
the reputation of the city as an educational centre. 
Its relationship with the University in the adminis- 
tration of its schools has necessarily been a close one, 
and our personal relations with Sir William have been 
of the most friendly nature; while his wide experience 
and talents have been of great service to us and others 
in the cause of higher education." 

Turner's eightieth birthday, January 7, 1912, 
brought him many congratulatory addresses from 
the various bodies with which he was connected, and 
many letters from his numerous friends. The anniver- 
sary was not forgotten by some of the men who had 
been his pupils in the days when he was a Demon- 
strator under Goodsir. "I hope," wrote Sir Dyce 
Duckworth, a student in 1860, "that you will not 
regard it as an intrusion on the sanctity of your age 
to receive the warm congratulations of a faithful old 
pupil, on your attainment of an eightieth birthday. 
It is not given to many to be so hale and vigorous, 
with a Lancastrian tenacity, as you are ; and this 


(From the paiiiling by Sir Javiks OuTiiKm. I'.K.S.A., 
prc-entcd hy iiil>fcrib«r> in |i>n. and |>la<.e<l tn «bc 
Senate Mall of ihe I'niversiiy. 


occasion furnishes a happy opportunity for rallying 
around you the collected veneration and regard of 
many of your old pupils, whose lives and careers you 
have so splendidly helped to form and direct." From 
North Devon he received the following letter : — 

As an old and grateful pupil of yours, I am writing to wish 
you many happy returns of the day. Yes, fifty years ago 
I attended your lectures, given with explicit and painstaking 
lucidity. Your " handwriting on the wall " diagrams were 
proofs of your interest. Then I recall you and Stirling inject- 
ing the kidney through the lumbar vessels ; I hear again your 
kindly voice, I once more see your genial personality. These 
memories are worth saving, for you are verily, " Good Sir," a 
namesake of your distinguished predecessor. — With loving 
respect, Richard Daw. 

His eightieth birthday received further commemora- 
tion from his past and present colleagues in the Senatus 
Academicus, and from his many admirers throughout 
the country, who were desirous of presenting the 
University with the portrait of one who had done 60 
much on her behalf The picture from the brush of 
Sir James Guthrie, P.R.S.A., depicts Turner in his 
official capacity, sitting in his Vice-Chancellor's robes 
of black silk, relieved by its silver decorations, \yhile 
the crimson hood of the D.C.L. degree of the Univer- 
sity of Oxford lends additional colouring to it. Painted 
nearly twenty years later than the Reid portrait, it 
shows that while advancing years had not failed to 
leave their mark upon his features, time had not 
succeeded in depriving them of their force of char- 
acter. As Sir George Reid had taken occasion to 
familiarise himself with his subject by attending more 
than one of the anatomy lectures, so Sir James 
effected a similar purpose in a somewhat different 
way. Learning that Turner was travelling to London 
on a certain day, he arranged to make the journey 
himself, and he succeeded in obtaining a seat in the 
same compartment, liis purpose being to 8i)end the 


hours vis-a-vis with his subject. Turner remained 
ignorant of the true purport of Sir James Guthrie's 
journey to London on that occasion. 

The presentation of the portrait was made in the 
Upper Library on February 13, 1913, on behalf of 
the subscribers by Sir R. B. Finlay, the Parliament- 
ary representative of the University, and, as he 
reminded the audience, an old pupil and a private in 
No. 4 Company under Turner's command. "Rest 
assured," he said, " that you have reaped the true 
reward of a teacher, when every one who studied 
under you regarded that period as the most valued 
of his student life, and held your memory in admira- 
tion and affection." The picture was accepted on 
behalf of the University by the Chancellor. In 
tendering his grateful thanks to the donors. Turner, 
while recalling his early associations with the city, 
drew attention to what he regarded as the secret of 
the success of the Edinburgh Medical School when 
he joined it. The reputation which the men in the 
School at that time had gained, and which gave them 
a permanent place in the history of Medicine, was due 
to the combination of their teaching ability with the 
practical pursuit of science. It was a combination 
which had left its mark upon the Edinburgh School, 
which still continued active, and which, he trusted, 
might long endure. 

As Principal, Turner gave a dignity to all Uni- 
versity functions. This was specially noticeable 
at Graduation and Laureation Ceremonials in the 
M'Ewan Hall, where, impressive in his robes of 
office, he officiated on these occasions. The some- 
times boisterous elements in the upper gallery found 
that the steadfast look which, in former days, had 
silenced incipient disturbance in the Anatomical 
Theatre, had lost none of its authoritative quality. 


When interruption of the proceedings was threatened 
by undue ebullition of spirits, his eyes remained fixed 
upon the gallery, and his voice sternly enjoined silence 
in the well-known formula, "That will do, gentlemen." 
Turner officiated for the last time in the M'Ewan Hall 
at the Graduation Ceremonial on July 9, 1915, and 
in his address to the graduates in Arts and Medicine 
he pointed out that other questions, infinitely more 
important than our individual pursuits and careers, 
v^^ere occupying our thoughts, and ret^uired for their 
solution the exercise of the best of our judgment. 

The historic Empire of which we are citizens is experienc- 
ing a period of stress greater than it has ever previously been 
subjected to, for our position as one of the great nations of 
the world has been, and is, seriously threatened. A powerful 
nation with which we have been for more than a century and 
a half in friendly communion, and with whose Royal Family 
ours is united by ties of blood, has expressed in terms of hate 
its sentiments and intentions towards us. Its crovernini^ 
classes, civil and military, are dominated by a i-eckless am- 
bition to become the master nation of the world, irrespective 
of the rights and feelings of other nations. A colossal vanity 
has enfeebled their minds and caused them to believe and siiy 
that they are the source and centre of intellectual thought 
and eflbrt, and that other nations must be subservient to 
them. This view of their world mission is not limited to the 
official classes, but it is inculcated in tiie Universities and the 
State Schools, and forms a part of their educational system. 
It is significant that they have not claimed to l)e leaders in 
morals, for their methods in warfare are brutal, and are a.s 
cruel as those practised by the untutored savage. Their aim 
is to terrify their foes, to crush out the courage of their 
opponents, and to bring them under subjection ; with thorn 
the end justifies the means. Sucli sentiments and the acts 
which have resulted therefrom have roused a spirit of anta- 
gonism in tlie other European countries, and have led these 
nations to join together to crush the evil. 

We couid not sit quiet with folded hands. We are not a 
decadent people. The national sense that our intellectual 
freedom and liberty of action must be pre.served at all costs 
has become the creed of the British Empire. Scotland, this 
city, and the University resolved to play their part. The 


University has prepared a Roll of Honour, which testiiSes 
to the ettbrts which she has made since war was declared. 
Our Chancellor, who heads the list, is First Lord of the 
Admiralty; our Rector is Secretary of State for War; 65 
members of the Staff engaged in teaching and administration 
are serving with the forces; 2200 graduates, forming from 
one-fifth to one-sixth of the total number of graduates, have 
joined the Navy and Army, either as combatants or in pro- 
fessional and other capacities. Of these, 1525 are graduates 
of medicine, 361 names are those of former students who had 
not as yet graduated ; 853 are those of students many of 
whose names have been transferred to the roll of graduates. 
In addition, 457 of the present students are in the process of 
training in the Officers' Training Corps, to be ready to receive 
commissions after graduation. In all, 4000 names are in- 
cluded in the University Roll of Honour. The King has 
conferred orders and medals on 27 of our members, whilst 
the Field-Marshal has named 72 in his despatches. This 
great effort on the part of members of the University has not 
been accomplished without sacrifices on the part of many — 
studies have been interrupted and in some cases will never be 
resumed. Professional careers, after a most promising com- 
mencement, have been broken ; wounds have been received 
occasioning great pain and suffering, and in many cases 
permanent injury. The death roll, alas ! contains 62 names, 
almost all killed in action either at sea or on land.^ 

During his long life four sovereigns occupied the 
throne. Had he been born two years earlier, he could 
have added Georgfe IV. to the list of crowned heads 

• ^ . . • • • 

who ruled during his lifetime. From Queen Victoria 
Turner received both his Knighthood and his Order 
of the Bath, though the insignia of the latter were 
handed to him by King Edward VII. at the Palace 
of St James. In 1897, as the senior member of the 
Senatus, he took the place of Principal Sir William 
Muir, whose health did not permit him to undertake 
the journey to Balmoral for the purpose of presenting 
Queen Victoria with the congratulations of the Uni- 

' These figures indicate the Roll of Honour at the end of the first year 
of war. They have been largely added to since that time. In the 
summer of 1916, the total of those serving had reached nearly 5000, and 
368 had given their lives. 


versity on the occaBioii of her Diamond Jubilee. In 
the summer of 1902, he went to London, again as Sir 
Wilham Muir's deputy, to attend the Coronation 
Service of King Edward Vll. in Westminster Ahh^-y, 
but like others travellinLr south on a similar errand 
on that momentous occasion, he learnt at Crewe that 
the ceremony was to be postponed on account of the 
serious illness of the Kinor. When the Coronation 
ultimately took place in the month of August, Turner 
was on the Continent, and the University was repre- 
sented in the Abbey by Sir Ludovic Grant. In June 
1911, he witnessed the Coronation of King George V. 
and Queen Mary, obtaining a seat in the Abbey as 
the representative of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, 
of which he was then President. Although his 
attendance at these and other public ceremonials 
formed part of his official duties, they were a source 
of great interest to him. He was particularly careful 
in preserving the rights of the Lniversity on such 
occasions, and in seeing that her position was duly 

During the thirteen years of his Principalship, 
Turner had the great privilege of being associated 
with Mr A. J. Balfour as Chancellor of the Uni- 
versity. Their relations, which were always most 
cordial, were not solely official, as Turner receivt-d 
from him and from his family much personal courtesy, 
and, on more that one occasion, he enjoyed Mr Bal- 
four's hospitality at Whittingehame. Five Rectors 
held office during the same period. His old friend 
Lord Finlay, as Sir Robert Fiiilay, occupied the posi- 
tion in 1903, and he was followed in turn bv Mr H. B. 
Haldane (now Lord Haldane), Mr George \Vyndham. 
the Earl of Minto, K.T., and Field-Marshal the F.'irl 
Kitchener. In thus honouring Sir Robert and Mr 
Haldane, the students of Edinburgh University had 
chosen as their representatives upon the Court two 
men who, like themselves, had at one time l)een 
matriculated students of their Alma Mater. When 


vacating the office of Rector in 1908, Mr Haldane 
thus expressed himself: — 

War Office, "Whitehall, 
22nd October 1908. 

My dear Principal, — The time is drawing near when my 
term of office as Rector of the University expires, and I wish, 
in anticipation of the actual date, to say a few words of fare- 
well to yourself. My feeling of sadness is the greater because 
of the quality of those relations with you, which, so far as 
they are official, will terminate, These relations have been 
delio-htful — you have always been ready with the wisest 
counsel and best guidance when I needed help. My consola- 
tion is that the official termination need not affect in the least 
the personal friendship which has grown up between you and 
me in the three years during which I have held office. 

To me it was a source of real gratification to find myself 
elected by the students to the highest place they could give 
me in the old University which I had known intimately ever 
since my youth. I shall always retain the deepest interest 
in its welfare. Many changes have taken place since I en- 
tered its portals nearly thirty-five years ago, but they all of 
them have been changes in the direction of development and 
reform, and they will be followed, I hope, by yet greater 
growth of the same kind. 

Will you convey to my colleagues in the Court my sense 
of regret at parting from them. I wish I had been able to 
escape from public duties for sufficient time to be able to 
attend the Court and to say farewell to them personally. — 
Yours very sincerely, R. B. Haldane. 

Amongst his colleagues upon the University Court, 
with whom he was intimately associated, and whose 
assistance meant so much to him, four were in office 
during the whole period of his Principalship — the 
Honourable Lord Dundas, as the Chancellor's assessor. 
Professor John Rankine, representing the Senatus, 
and Dr F. D. Lowe and Dr R. M'Kenzie Johnston 
from the General Council of the University. Pro- 
fessor Malcolm Taylor had been Secretary since 1892, 
but the state of his health compelled his resignation 
five months before Turner's death, and Sir Richard 
Lodge took over his duties. 


In the Senatus, Turner kept the varied threadn of 
business free from entanglement, and carefulh' and 
cautiously guided the actions of his colleagues through 
the many problems which came under discussion. In 
Sir Ludovic Grant, so long the Secretary, Turner 
possessed a friend upon whose judgment he placed 
great reliance. "I must see what Sir Ludovic thinks 
of this," was a phrase which he not infrequently used 
when some difficulty presented itself before him. It 
was natural that, during his Principalship, he should 
preserve a special interest in his old Faculty, and 
after Professor Cunningham's death it was a pleasure 
to Turner to see the Deanship, which he himself had 
occupied thirty years before, placed in the hands of 
Professor Harvey Littlejohn, the son of his old friend, 
Sir Henry. 

It is not inappropriate to glance at the changes 
which Turner had witnessed in the personnel of the 
Medical Faculty during the forty-nine years which 
embraced his connection with the Senatus. The 
Chair of Medicine stands first with no fewer than 
five occupants — Alison, Laycock, Grainger Stewart, 
Wyllie, and Lovell Gulland. Of the remaining eleven 
Chairs which constituted the Faculty at tlie time of 
bis election in 1867, Pathology, Surgery, and Clinical 
Surgery had each been occupied by four professors ; 
Botany, Natural History, Chemistry, Anatomy, Physi- 
ology, Medical Jurisprudence, and Midwifery by three ; 
and Materia Medica by two. Wlien Sir Robert Chris- 
tison resigned the Chair of Materia Medica in 1877, 
he was succeeded by Sir Thomas R. Fraser, wiio held 
the appointment until 1918. Sir Thomas, therefore, 
whose tenure of office extended to forty-one years, 
was Turner's oldest active colleague in the Medical 
Faculty. He succeeded him as Dean, took his j)lace 
as representative of the Senatus upon the Coiu't when 
Turner was made Principal, and in 1905, he l)ecame 
the Court's representative upon the Medica} Council 
when Turner retired from that body. Thus, Turner 


had forty colleagues in the Faculty of twelve, and if 
the occupants of three of the four new Chairs founded 
during his academic life be added, the total is forty- 
three, certainly an unusual experience in the active 
period of the life of one man. Three former col- 
leagues, to each of whom Turner was deeply attached, 
survived him, though they were no longer members 
of the Medical Faculty — Alexander Crum Brown, 
Sir Alexander Russell Simpson,^ and John Chiene ; 
all of them had retired during the period of his 

Though we have attempted in our narrative to 
reveal the gradual progress of the University during 
the years of Turner's association with the Medical 
School, a glance at the matriculation figures of 
1858-59 and those of 1913, the year before the 
Great War, is not without interest. The total 
number of matriculated students had increased from 
1336 to 3261 ; of the latter, 549 were women — an 
element not represented in the previous century. In 
the Faculty of Medicine the figures were 526 and 
1315 ; in Arts, 537 and 1200; in Law, 237 and 254. 
The new Faculty of Science enrolled 412 members 
in 1913, and that of Music 20. No information is 
available in regard to the matriculation in Divinity 
in 1858, but in 1913, 60 students enrolled in the 

In addressing the graduates at the Jubilee dinner 
of the Edinburgh University Club of London, in May 
1914, Turner said: "If you desire to have a Uni- 
versity which is not decadent, but which is virile^ 
you must have students who are not decadent but 
virile, and you must have graduates who are not 
decadent but virile, because we look to our graduates 
to carry on the reputation of the University over the 
world ; and, so long as this is done, Edinburgh will 
retain her place as one of the great University 

* Sir Alexander Simpson met with a fatal accident two months after 
Turner's death. 


academic institutions in the country." These words 
recall to our memory a passatre from "/E<juanimitas," ^ 
which may fittint^dy be quoted here : " The great pos- 
session of any University is its great names. It is 
not the 'pride, pomp, and circumstance' of an in- 
stitution which bring honour, not its wealth, nor 
the number of its schools, nor the students wlio 
throng its halls, but the men who have trodden in 
its service the thorny road through toil, even 
through hate, to the serene abode of Fame, climb- 
ing ' like stars to their appointed height,' — these 
bring glory." 

Turner maintained a real interest in all matters 
connected with the University life of the students, 
and when the various inter- University conferences 
and congresses met in Edinburgh, he took the oppor- 
tunity of welcoming the delegates. He displayetl the 
same sympathy in connection with the different 
Students' Associations, his pride in the cosmopolitan 
character of the University leading him to take a 
special interest in those more immediately associated 
with the Overseas Dominions and with tho Indian 
Empire. He kept himself closely in touch with ;dl 
that pertained to the welfare of the Students' Union, 
from the time of its inception to the completion of 
the new buildings and the library extension in 190<). 
The scheme for enlarging the Union buildings had 
been launched in 19012, the committee selected for 
the pur])Ose of carrying it through being presided 
over by Professor Thomas Annandale. The members 
of the Union must always remain indebted to him 
for his active share in helping them through their 
difficulties and in obtaining the assistance of his 
friend Sir Donald Currie at a time when the financial 
position of the club was far from satisfactory. In 
spite of the efforts of the Committee in raising sub- 
scriptions, and the generous response which was made 

* "yEquanirnitas" and other AddresHes, by Sir William Osier, Bart. 

2 G 


by Sir Oliver Riddell and others, and notwithstand- 
ing the resolution arrived at by the members of 
the Union to raise their annual subscription in order 
to meet the additional expenditure, additional funds 
were required to place it upon a sound financial basis. 
At the luncheon in the Union, on July 27, 1906, 
following the graduation ceremony at which Sir 
Donald Currie had received the honorary Doctorate 
in Laws, Turner was able to announce the satis- 
factory termination of the difficulties which had 
hitherto weighed so heavily upon the Committee. 

This luncheon [he said] has now become a very import- 
ant part of the work and the pleasure of our summer 
graduation, and those of us who during the last two or 
three years have been present at this ceremony will have 
recognised what an important change has taken place in 
the Union building. Even those who were here last ye&r 
will recognise how greatly the Union has grown, and, I 
think I may say, has grown so that I doubt if there is 
in the United Kingdom a University Union, managed by 
students, which is on so efficient a scale as this is. You 
cannot expect to have a building of this kind without ex- 
pense being incurred. How to provide the money has been 
a matter of great concern to those who have taken an active 
part in the carrying through of this great work ; but a very 
happy thought occurred to an active member of your Com- 
mittee, Professor Annandale, and that was to this effect : " I 
know Sir Donald Currie ; I know what a liberal-minded man 
he is, and I think if the facts of the case were put before him 
he Avill perhaps help us to get rid of our liabilities." There 
is another very active member of this Union, Mr James 
Walker, who has a talent for figures. He has also a talent 
for administration, and he prepared a statement of the cost 
of the building which he submitted to Sir Donald, This 
was to the effect that £14,000 would be required in order 
to pay for the site, and for the construction of the building 
and for fitting it up, in addition to the sum of £7000 which 
had been previously subscribed. One of the features of this 
building is the large and very handsome library — handsome, 
that is, in its position, but limited in the number of its books. 
These facts were put before Sir Donald Currie. The sum for 


providing the library with suitable books was X-iOOO — alto- 
gether £18,000 was what was required. This (juestiou has 
been seriously considered, and I am authorised on the part 
of Sir Donald, who has given me the authority, because he 
thought that I, as Principal, ought to be the person to make 
a statement on this occasion. What he suggests as a solution 
of the difficulty is this : Sir Donald is a Scotsman ; bur there 
is another great Scotsman in Scotland who t-akes a great 
interest in education, and who has done much for Scottish 
students and for Scottish Universities, — I refer to the laird 
of Skibo, Mr Andrew Carnegie. Sir Donald thought it might 
not be inadvisable to lay the case before Mr Carnegie. He 
has done so, and Mr Carnegie has intimated his intention 
to become a partner with him in the working out of the 
problem. The Treasury at Westminster has laid down the 
important principle, in giving public money, that a locality 
ought to do something and the Treasury will help. This 
rule is a wise one ; and it has been applied not only by those 
who get Government grants, but by those who, like Sir 
Donald Currie and Mr Carnegie, have been in the habit of 
giving out of the fulness oi their wealth to public and 
educational purposes. The scheme is as follows : Sir Donald 
proposes to give £6000 ; Mr Andrew Carnegie agrees to 
become a partner to the extent of £6000. I think you 
will understand from what I have said as to the locality 
participating, that it is the locality that provide the 
remaining £6000. I do not hesitate to say that it will do 
so; but the question is, How long should the locality take 
to collect the sum ? Sir Donald suggests this time next 
year, but I would suggest the end of next year. 

With the necessary sum j)rovi(lecl by the locality, 
and with the property duly secured to the University 
under a clause in the Trust, the Union was assured 
of a fresh lease of life. 

Turner resumed his ofHcial duties at the University 
at the commencement of the autumn session of 
1915-16, after a holiday spent in North Wales. The 
question of resigning otlice had occupied his mind for 
some considerable time ; but when war broke out, and 


the necessity arose for every man and woman to 
assist their country, he felt that to voluntarily resign 
his post while he was still able to work was equiva- 
lent to deserting the ship in the hour of her need. 
The war, which had now entered upon its second 
year, undoubtedly weighed heavily on his mind, and 
probably played some insidious part in undermining 
his vitality. He maintained an untiring interest in 
the welfare both of the members of the University 
staff, and of the students past and present who 
were fighting their country's battles at home and 
abroad. He was keenly interested in the prepara- 
tion of the University Roll of Honour, and spent 
many hours with the Committee scrutinising and 
helping to compile the ever - increasing list of the 
names of those who had fallen. 

As the winter advanced. Turner seemed to those 
who were in more immediate touch with him, to be 
feeling for the first time the weight of his years and 
the onerous nature of his duties. More than once he 
found it necessary to vacate the chair at a meeting 
of Senatus before the conclusion of business, a most 
unusual step for him tb take. After the Christmas 
vacation, he seemed to be again in better spirits, and 
he attended the special service in St Giles on Sunday, 
January 30th, reading the lessons with his usual force 
and fervour. A week later he was obliged to keep 
his room, and finally to remain in bed, and seek the 
advice of his old friend and pupil, Sir James Affleck, 
who gave him ungrudgingly his attention and skill. 
But his condition at first was not such as to cause his 
family any undue anxiety, and he was able to attend 
to some work in which he was specially interested. 
The University Court was to meet at the beginning 
of the week following his illness, and he wrote to Sir 
Richard Lodge : "The possibility of my not being fit 
to attend the meeting on Monday is giving me much 
anxiety. In preparing your programme, can you 


arrange to place for early consideration such matters 
as you would consider my presence desiraljle for, so 
that I might ])erhaps be able to assist in those items 
of business and then leave." But on the day previous 
to the meeting of the Court, he became suddenly 
worse, and forty-eight hours later, on the morning of 
February 15, 1916, he passed away at the age of eighty- 
four. Turner died, as he had lived, in harness, and 
the manner of his death was such as he himself would 
have chosen. 




In attempting to summarise the administrative and 
educational work in which Turner was engaged, and 
at the same time to sketch the main points in his 
character, which enabled him to take the outstanding 
position which he finally held, it is not sufficient to 
confine our review to the thirteen years of his Prin- 
cipalship. If the story, which we have endeavoured 
to tell in these pages, teaches anything, it reveals the 
fact, that while he accomplished much as Principal, 
his activities in the interests of his profession and of 
the University of Edinburgh date from the time 
when he entered the Senatus Academicus in 1867. 
We have no means of knowing whether he took any 
active part in University affairs during the thirteen 
years of his demonstratorship, but it is unlikely that 
he was more than an observant and thoughtful spec- 
tator during that period. 

Turner was specially fortunate in being associated 
with an epoch of great development and expansion in 
medical legislation, and in the educational life of the 
Scottish Universities. Educated at a time when 
there was no central authority to guide the different 
Medical Licensing Bodies, when each of them, accord- 
ing to their own lights, taught and examined their 
candidates with a view to practise, he had actual 
experience of methods which certainly required re- 


formation. The Medical Act of 1858 established the 
General Medical Council as a central body of control, 
and urged upon duly qualified medical practitioners 
the advantages of registration ; but owing to its defect 
in one important point, many years of controversial 
legislation followed its introduction, while the Act 
of 1886, in the framing of whose fundamental prin- 
ciples Turner took a leading part, placed tlie quali- 
fication of practitioners upon a more comprehensive 

His oflScial connection with the University went 
back to the time when the Municipality of the city 
controlled and managed her affairs and exercised the 
bulk of the patronage. But in 1858, it was generally 
felt that the time had come when the University 
should no longer l)e ruled by a non-academic bodv, 
and accordingly the Universities (Scotland) Act was 
passed, which remodelled the whole constitution, and 
entrusted the administration of the University to the 
Senatus and the Court. She thus became a self- 
governed society of graduates. Thirty -one years 
later, the Act of 1889 gave the University Courts 
wider and increased powers, and the Commissioners 
effected many important developments in the system 
of education. The whole period of fifty-eight years 
(1858-1916) was, therefore, one of great activity, and 
during the major part of it Turner was constant Iv 
engaged in promoting the welfare of the profession 
and of the University, and was fre(juently taking a 
foremost place in effecting improvements. 

It was essentially a period associated with the 
development of the teaching of science, one of the 
distinct landmarks in the history of the Victorian era. 
It was a period in which the Universities, while re- 
taining in their system all the old subjects of training, 
required to introduce much new matter in order to 
meet the conditions of modern life : it was a period, 
therefore, in which provision had to be made, not only 
for those who were entering the learned professions, 


but for tlie many who desired to become engaged 
in commerce, in manufactures, and in engineering. 
Hence, the Universities were called upon to consider 
the application of science to the arts and industries. 
The period was marked, therefore, by a revolution in 
the methods of teaching. Practical instruction largely 
displaced, or was superadded to, the older lines of im- 
parting knowledge by means of systematic lectures 
and occasional demonstrations. Consequently, this 
entailed the construction of new laboratories and 
museums, and necessitated the carrying through of 
the large scheme of University extension, which com- 
menced with the building of the New Medical School, 
and which has continued to develop other oifshoots 
in different parts of the city. New curricula and 
degrees in Pure and Applied Science were introduced 
in the subjects of Engineering, in Public Health, in 
Agriculture, Forestry, and Veterinary Science. It 
led to the development of the lectureship system in 
Science, a system which found still further extension 
in the faculties of Medicine, Arts, and Law, while the 
widespread benefits of the Carnegie Trust, as applied 
to the financial assistance of the University, did much 
to further the end in view. A closer relationship 
began to grow up between the Secondary Schools and 
the University, and with the object of improving the 
position of the teachers, the University established 
a Diploma and a Degree in Education. 

It is not given to every man in his generation to 
be so richly pi'ovided, as Turner was, with so many 
opportunities of exercising his talents and of proving 
his capacity as a man of affairs. Few men are en- 
dowed with the physical vigour and the robust health 
which gave him more than tlie average span of life, 
and the stamina which permitted of unremitting 
application and of continuous endeavour during so 
many years. While fortunate both in the circum- 
stances in which he was placed and in the character 


of the men with whom he was associated in his work, 
it is none the less a matter of" interest to dwell briefly 
upon some of those personal qualities which brought 
him to the forefront amongst his compeers of more 
than one generation. " Human character is influ- 
enced by example and precept ; by life and literature ; 
by friends and neighbours ; by environment and by 
the spirit of our forefathers, whose legacy of good 
words and deeds we inherit. But great unquestion- 
ably though these influences are acknowledged to 
be, it is nevertheless equally clear tliat men must 
necessarily be the active agents of their own well- 
being and welldoing, and however much they may 
owe to others, they themselves must in the very 
nature of things be their own best helpers."^ 

Turner has acknowled"-ed the influence which the 
precept amd example of three men exercised upon 
him in his earlier life : Christopher Johnson, the 
cultured practitioner of his apprenticeship days in 
Lancaster; James Paget, the distinguished teacher 
and surgeon during his student life at St Bartholo- 
mew's Hospital ; and Jolin Goodsir, the scientific 
anatomist and his "Chief" during the thirteen years 
of his demonstratorshi]) in P^dinburgh. All were 
men of high character, to whom anything tliat was 
small or mean was distasteful ; they exenq)lifie(l the 
virtue of patience, diligence, and constant application, 
and demonstrated by their manner of living and 
working that there is no royal road to success. But 
whatever he gained through his early association with 
them, the environment of liis l)oyhood certainly de- 
veloped in him some of those qualities wliich set their 
mark upon his character, as it was revealed in after 
years. Brought up in a home in wliich there was no 
paternal guidance to direct him, and in which economy 
had always to be practised, he early became dependent 
upon his own exertions. No social influence came to 
his aid. From the outset, therefore, he l«*;iint the 
' Smile*. 'Self-Uelp.' 


value of self-reliance and the necessity of depending 
upon his own judgment of men and things. He soon 
recognised the need of hard work and indefatigable 
industry, if success were to be attained. His early 
letters to his mother and his brother have made this 
quite clear. As he grew to manhood, the further 
development of these qualities gave him determina- 
tion, a strong will, and the courage of his opinions, 
while his capacity for work increased rather than 
diminished with maturer years. 

In spite of his pleasure in work, he was very far 
removed from the type of industrious student depicted 
by Robert Louis Stevenson : of the man who sowed 
hurry and reaped indigestion ; who put a vast deal 
of activity out to interest, and who received in return 
a large measure of nervous derangement and became 
a recluse in the garret. On the contrary, along with 
close appUcation, Turner developed a wide outlook 
upon life. There was nothing small or parochial in 
his views or in his general conception of the scheme 
of things, while, in the larger educational questions, 
which occupied so much of his time and attention, 
he distinctly showed an imperial attitude of mind. 
The training which he gave himself undoubtedly 
conduced to the development of the wider outlook, 
and his work was stamped with the impress thus 
given to it. He was an omnivorous reader ; history, 
the study of architecture and art, biography and 
travel, gave him an extended knowledge of the world 
and of the character and actions of men. He had a 
great belief in the educational value of travel, and 
though the nature of his work prevented him from 
taking prolonged world tours, he broadened his 
vision and gained experience by frequent visits to 
the neighbouring European countries. He rarely, 
too, missed an opportunity of mixing with people, 
and coming into contact with men of diverse views 
and professions, and he entered freely into the public 
life of the city. The character of his scientific re- 


searches, especially of* those upon anthropolocry, doubt- 
less fostered and broadened his general outlook, as he 
studied not only the physical development of the 
peoples of the globe, but their environment, their 
habits of life, their manners and customs. His train- 
ing along these lines could not fail to be reflected in 
his relations with men, and with the various problems 
which presented themselves before him. 

It is difficult to apportion the balance between 
qualities which are by nature inherent in an indi- 
vidual and those which are acquired as the result of 
precept and training. The two probably become 
blended, and the results of experience and education 
are grafted upon the qualities which have been in- 
herited. Nature had certainly endowed Turner with 
certain gifts which added greatly both to the strength 
and to the charm of his personality. An unusually 
retentive memory was of enormous advantage to him, 
not only as a teacher, but when engaged in the trans- 
action of business, giving him a mastery of the details, 
and making him thoroughly conversant with all the 
facts pertaining to the matter in hand. For this 
reason he was very intolerant of inaccurate state- 
ments, and had little sympathy with work which was 
only partially prepared. He possessed an abundant 
store of common-sense, which made the right course 
obvious to him when others found it perplexing. He 
had a keen insight into the character and mental 
attitude of men, which frequently enabled him, in 
debate, to anticipate from whom opposition would 
come and whence difficulties might arise in the course 
of discussion, a power which j)laced him in a position 
of preparedness. He had the ability, too, to foresee the 
ultimate result of certain matters of j)olicy, the effect 
of which others were sometimes inclined to regaril 
with sce{)ticism, but as to which future events proved 
that his view had been correct. He took the large 
view of questions in preference to the small one, and 
in this he showed his statesmanship. 


He exhibited a gentleness and sympathy with the 
difficulties of others, and a complete understanding of 
their attitude, even though it differed from his own. 
Always just, a judicial fairness characterised his 
actions, and while he was resolute, and liked to have 
his own way, and usually meant to have it, his rul- 
ing was not stamped with a spirit of domination. 
Suaviter in modo, fortiter m re, admirably expresses 
his position. 

" He stood foursquare to all the winds that blow, 
Not yielding place to either friend or foe 
When he thought right. May we then not do less, 
Remembering still his genial kindliness." 

In leaning to the side of prudence and caution, 
especially in financial matters, his attitude did not 
always appeal to his fellow-workers, but it was usually 
justified by the chronically impoverished condition of 
the University funds. In his later years, he escaped 
the tendency, often common in the mental outlook of 
older men, to regard as all-sufficient for the future 
what had proved so satisfactory in the past. For 
this reason, he was prepared to consider and then to 
accept fresh views in the interest of progress. An 
innate modesty characterised both his actions and his 
writings ; perusal of all that he has written, whether 
in his scientific or in his administrative work, fails to 
give a clue to the all-important part which he himself 
played in adding to the sum-total of knowledge, or in 
furthering the interests of his profession. He had 
the natural, healthy ambition to succeed, but it was 
sufficient for him to recognise that the end for which 
he worked had been achieved ; and while the share 
which he had taken in bringing this about gave him 
the greatest satisfaction, he did not seek any self- 
advertisement. He furnished a striking example of a 
life lived with the object of advancing his profession 
and of benefiting the community of which he was a 
member. Such were the quaHties with which he in- 


spired the affectionate esteem of those amo^l,^st whom 
he worked, and which made him a leader in the 
councils of his colleagues. 

Turner was intensely proud of the University, and 
her best interests at all times claimed his first con- 
sideration. He had as profound a belief in her 
continued vitality and future prosperity as he had 
in her past success. His work, on her behalf, was not 
merely directed towards equipping the University lor 
the more immediate requirements of the moment, but 
with the view of providing for her future needs. The 
great principle which underlay all his ettbrts was 
embraced in the idea of continuous progress ; there 
must be no standinor still. The satisfaction which he 
derived from the successful accomplishment of one 
important piece of work merely served as a mental 
stimulus for commencing some fresh undertaking. He 
had a deep-rooted Vjelief in the value of the Scottish 
system of education, and in the soundness of the 
methods of the Scottish Universities No one can 
follow his actions or read what he said during the 
long - drawn - out controversy over the attempted 
establishment of the one-portal system, without fully 
realising: this. His evidence before Mr W. E. Forster's 
Committee, and his own Mniority Report presented to 
the Medical Acts Commission of 1881, breathed the 
spirit of his conviction that he was fighting for a cause 
in which he thoroughly believed. But his whole life 
indeed provtd the sincerity of his belief Although 
an Englishman and educated in England, he early 
became convinced of the valu»^ of the Edinburgh 
plan in the training of the student of medicine. It 
might truthfully be said, indeed, without disrespt'ct, 
that because he had been educated in a London 
school of that period, he was able to appreciate 
more fully the advantages which the Scottish sys- 
tem provided. He was sometimes twitted at havmg 
become more Scottish than the Scot, but he was 


not averse to admitting the truth of the soft im- 

University education, in his view, must aim at 
something more than the teaching of the bare 
necessities required by the practical man in the 
discharge of his professional duties. Instruction in 
the purely scientific side of a curriculum, demanded 
from the teacher the exposition of a greater breadth 
of view than what was contained in the more prac- 
tical details of his subject, and he maintained that 
scientific classes should not be dragged down to the 
minimum of professional requirements. " In schools 
which are mainly or even exclusively technical in 
their methods and practice, the scientific or philoso- 
phical principles of a subject are apt to be lost sight 
of in the efforts made by a teacher to impart, and by 
the student to acquire, such routine knowledge as 
may be readily utilised for professional purposes. 
But when subjects of professional study become a 
constituent part of the educational system of a 
University, they should be based upon a literary 
and philosophical or scientific foundation. If this 
is faithfully carried out, the Universities will succeed 
in raising the standard of professional knowledge 
throughout the country, and in introducing into the 
several professions men of wide general culture and 
of more varied attainments than can be looked for, 
when the subjects are taught exclusively in their 
application to professional practice." " The fulness 
of life," he pointed out on one occasion, " has been 
said to consist in the balance between the flesh and 
the spirit, each of which has its own allotted sphere." 
" The fulness of medical education," he added, " is 
in the due preservation of the balance between the 
scientific and the practical." ^ 

It was not the system alone, or its purely intel- 
lectual advantages, which appealed to him, but he 
was certain of the value of the moral benefit to be 

• Sir William Turner : Address at Oxford, 1893. 


derived from a University training in medicine. 
" The higher tone and character and the conduct 
of the medical profession in Scotland, and the posi- 
tion which it holds in the eyes of the public, are 
largely due to the fact that the great bulk of its 
members are graduates of one or other of the Scot- 
tish Universities. They had it early instilled into 
them that the graduate of medicine should be a man 
who held his profession as something more than a 
mere matter of trading. It was a profession which 
appealed to the highest sentiments of human nature, 
and it was the duty of each one to discharge tlie 
duties of his profession from that high and noble 
point of view." 

Thus, Turner's life in Edinburgh was contempor- 
aneous both with the commencement and with the 
consummation of a number of important events in 
the history of professional education. His life's work 
constituted, indeed, a distinct chapter in medical his- 
tory. It were perhaps unwise, nay, even liazardous, 
to venture to predict what the future may have in 
store for the profession which he adorned, and for 
the University in whose interests he laboured. The 
Great War in which his closing years were passed 
has broken the continuity of peaceful progress. The 
tremendous upheaval which has tluis been brought 
about cannot leave the minds of men untouclied, 
and already the mutterings of approacliing changes 
portend the advent of an era that may differ, in 
many respects, from tliat which has preceded it. 

A fresh chapter in the medical history of the 
University will be written at some future period. 
It may, or may not, be woven round the life of one 
man, but, whatever changes it may reveal, it will 
assuredly show that there has l)een no standing 
still, and that the march of progress has been ever 



L' EN vol. 

Home life — A Conversationalist — Science and Faith. — A public 
speaker — Holidays — Friends — Eetrospect. 

In his home, which was the centre of so many of his 
interests, Turner was singularly fortunate ; the mutual 
goodwill and sympathy which he could always rely 
upon finding there meant so much to him when 
constantly occupied with work. This was due in 
great measure to the character of his wife, his in- 
timate companion for forty-five years, who not only 
devotedly helped him and sympathised with him 
in his earlier struggles and difficulties, but shared 
with him his later triumphs and the fruits of his 
success. The most gentle and kind - hearted of 
women, she died on January 8th, 1908, leaving 
behind her naught but memories of a life which 
had endeared her both to her family and her friends. 
After her death he became more and more dependent 
upon the help and care of his two daughters, Amy and 
Constance, not only in his home life but during his 
holidays. As experienced travellers and accom- 
plished linguists, they assisted him in his journeys 
abroad, making easy the difficulties and minimising 
the inconveniences attending Continental travel. His 
two elder sons entered the medical profession. William 
Aldren settled in London as a consulting physician, 

L'ENVOI 481 

turning' his attention more particularly to tlie study 
of the diseases of the nervous system ; while the 
second, Arthur Logan, remained in Edinburgh, and 
engaged in surgical work in the diseases of the ear 
and throat. His youngest son, Francis Rol)ert, be- 
came a farmer, following his calling in Roxburgh- 
shire, in the same neighbourhood as that in which 
his maternal irrandfather had lived. 

Turner dehghted in the society of young people of 
both sexes, and this, like his intercourse with his 
students, served to keep him pereiniially youthful 
in mind. In his later years, he derived great 
pleasure from the companionship of his grand- 
children, of whom he had five, and he watched 
their progress with ever - increasing interest. As 
the friends of his own age died, he formed fresh 
friendships with the younger generations, and with 
those who were intimate with his children, " Ever 
a welcome guest himself, he was also a most genial 
host, a trait in his character which was seen to 
advantage as often as he dispensed his hospitalities 
in connection with University functions and events. 
It was when surrounded on such occasions by his 
guests, by men eminent in some branch of science, 
literature, or art, by colleagues and friends, that 
the lighter, brighter, and very genial side of liis 
nature was fully disclosed and realised. Then the 
indefatigable investigator in scientitic matters, the 
cautious administrator and the disciplinarian, simply 
became a lovable human being with kind thougiit for 
all. overflowing with ready wit and pleasant humour." ^ 

The same good-fellowship and the zest of enjoyment 
in the society of his friends characterised his attend- 
ance at many social meetings, — at tlie dinners of the 
various Edinburgh University Clubs throughout the 
country, where his presence was always welcomed, at 
the Royal Society Club, and at " The yE.sculapians." 
There the more humorous and brighter side of his 

' Proft'ssor Malcolm TavItT, 1>.I>. 

2 II 


nature added to the pleasure of the overling. He was 
elected to the ^Esculapians in October 1868, when Sir 
James Y. Simpson, George Combe, Daniel Rutherford 
Haldane, James Donaldson Gillespie, Douglas Mac- 
lao-an, Andrew Wood and John Smith, were some of 
the active members of the Club. Turner was the 
senior ^sculapian when the War put a temporary end 
to the convivial dinners of the Club, " where songs 
and verses, new and old, with twinkling scraps of 
literary genius, enlivened mostly all the meetings, and 
confirmed the indisputable maxim of the old philoso- 
phers, Diilce est desi}3ere in loco — varietas delectat." 

Turner's long experience and his wide outlook on 
life gave a singular interest and a charm to his con- 
versation, while his memory of events was always 
fresh and accurate. To his family and his more 
intimate friends his conversational powers were well 
known. " I have seen more of him than usual this 
winter," wrote one of his colleagues in the Senatus 
after Turner's death. " It was a great pleasure and 
privilege to talk with him on these occasions. There 
seemed to be no abatement of his natural force ; his 
judgment was as vigorous and as sure as it had ever 
been. He could always illustrate anything that we 
talked about out of his own rich experience. He 
remembered accurately things which I can recall my 
parents discussing when I was a boy. I don't suppose 
we ever mentioned a point in University or National 
politics of the last sixty years regarding which his 
memory was not perfectly accurate. I shall always 
look back to these conversations, which enabled me to 
see how his mind worked, and which admitted me to 
his confidence in a way which would otherwise have 
been impossible." He did not weary his listeners. 
From his rich store of knowledge of past events he 
was able to give interest to his conversation, while his 
verdicts upon men and their actions showed a pene- 
trating insight into character. 


But many, other than his more Intimate friends, 
profited by intercourse with liim in liis leisure moments. 
The acquaintances })icked up in his travels can look 
back with pleasant recollections to the hours spent in 
his society. Some of them indeed, though strangers 
at first, but meeting more than once under similar 
conditions, established a lasting friendship as the re- 
sult of these occasional holiday experiences. Memories 
of some particular place are often impressed upon the 
mind, or rendered more vivid, by some special inci- 
dent, by a notable excursion, the beauty of the scene, 
the brilliancy, or otherwise, of the weather, or from 
some less romantic cause. But there are some to-day 
whose recollection of a holiday has an added interest, 
or is again stimulated, by the memory of a chance 
meeting with Turner. To one, the picture of the 
courtyard of some old hotel in Normandy is again 
unfolded, where in the background the chef in white 
cap and apron is taking his well-earned leisure, and 
Madame at the table in her oflice window is closely 
inspecting her books. Here, the after-dinner cigar, 
with the coffee and the Benedictine, and the one or 
two remaining hours of the day, have passed all too 
quickly in conversation with him. Perchance, to 
another, it is a verandah facing the sea, with the long 
stretch of sand in the foreground, and beyond, the 
distant lights of a steamer making her way down 
channel. Or again, the terrace of some mountain 
hotel in the Al])s, with the moonlight casting deep 
shadows in the valley below, and lighting up the 
distant peaks with almost " uncanny" detail. It may 
be the recollection of an Italian garden in spring, 
rich in its colouring of roses and wistaria, or nearer 
home, the smoking-room or lounge of an English 
hotel, or of a country-house in Scotland. 

Turner made no parade of religion. Although a 
regular attendant at church, it was not his habit to 
talk about spiritual matters. He was a meml>er of 


the congregation of St John's Church in the days 
when Dean Ramsay and Dr D. F. Sandfbrd, after- 
wards Bishop of Tasmania, ministered there, and he 
continued his attendance in the time of their suc- 
cessors. Like many other men of science, like his 
friends Lord Lister and Sir John Murray, the eluci- 
dation of scientific facts did not destroy his belief in 
the existence of an Unseen Being. To him, there was 
nothing in the data which science revealed that was 
inconsistent with the possession of a faith in some one 
higher than ourselves. He held no narrow sectarian 
views. Had he taken any active part in religious 
questions, he would have shown that he was an active 
supporter of the union of the Churches. The men of 
various denominations who assembled in the chancel 
of St John's on February 19, 1916, to pay their last 
respect to one whom they admired and regarded as a 
friend, unconsciously perhaps, but none the less truly, 
were carrying out in the letter, the spirit of reconcilia- 
tion which certainly marked his attitude towards the 
Churches. He welcomed the opportunity frequently 
given to him of reading the Scripture lessons of the 
day at the special services in St Giles, when the 
Officers' Training Corps paraded, and his clear and 
resonant tones rang through the old Cathedral, im- 
pressive in their earnestness and in their reverent 
regard for the words which he uttered. 

The Rev. Dr John Kelman has given an account of 
a Sunday evening service in the old Operetta House 
in Chambers Street, where he addressed the students 
upon the subject of Faith and Character.^ It had 
been Sir William Muir's custom to preside on such 
occasions, and when Turner succeeded him as Prin- 
cipal, he consented to occupy the chair. When Dr 
Kelman had finished his address, the Chairman rose 
and faced his audience. " A dead hush fell upon the 
meeting from pit to topmost gallery, and the clear 
incisive words seemed to fill the whole building, and 

* The Student Memorial Number, 1916.